Inspiring Indigenous trainee makes his mark in the AFL

Inspiring Indigenous trainee makes his mark in the AFL

Inspiring Indigenous trainee makes his mark in the AFL

Former trainee and proud Gamilaroi and Wiradjuri man, Matthew Keevil, has overcome some of life’s toughest hurdles to get to where he is today. After completing his AFL SportsReady traineeship, he scored a full-time job with AFL NSW/ACT as the Indigenous and Development Program Officer and is motivating other young people in his community.

‘I love being a leader within my community and inspiring other young people with the story I have. I grew up facing many hardships but thanks to my mentors I was pushed on the right path and I’m living my dream career,’ said Matthew.

During his high school years Matthew was a part of the AFL Indigenous Academies with AFL NSW/ACT where he met his mentor, Luke Penrith, who was the manager of the program.

‘I formed a close bond with Luke, he encouraged me to further my studies and do a traineeship, and after I weighed up the benefits I took on the opportunity and agreed to study a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation.’

Matthew started his traineeship journey in 2013 guided by Andrew Craig, AFL SportsReady NSW/ACT State Manager who was a Field Officer at the time. While studying his qualifications Matthew continued to work at AFL NSW/ACT who took him on as a trainee.

‘AFL NSW/ACT is an incredible organisation, they not only skilled me up for the industry they also gave me a range of opportunities to help me with my own personal development,’ Matthew said.

‘I felt extremely supported. Everyone really cares about you, they want the absolute best for you in regards to your career and wellbeing. I was encouraged to go even further and complete a second traineeship, this time studying a Certificate IV in Business. It made me feel like they really wanted the best outcome for me,’ he added.

‘After I completed my traineeship with AFL SportsReady my host employer AFL NSW/ACT offered me full-time employment. They even had no positions vacant at the time so they restructured and made a completely new role for me.’

In his role Matthew works with seven partner high schools in Western Sydney, mentoring young indigenous people during their schooling and helping them to prepare for life after high school. He also assists the Indigenous AFL Programs team organise and run workshops.

‘I love being pushed in the deep end because I know it will only benefit me in the long run even though I might be nervous at the time. I love that I’m being skilled whilst making money and I love that I have certificates to say I have knowledge and practice in these areas which will help me with future job prospects.’

‘Now, if I hear any young Indigenous males and females say they can’t do it, I let them know that anything is possible and I if I can pick myself up and overcome the challenges I faced then so can they.’

Matthew has become an integral part of the AFL NSW/ACT team and this year won the AFL SportsReady NSW Host Plus Rising Star Award which recognises a trainee who has gone above and beyond in their workplace.

DATE: 13th of June 2017
IMAGE: Matthew Keevil with mentor and AFL SportsReady NSW/ACT State Manager Andrew Craig.
AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello