Letters to Shane Warne and Traineeships
Proud Wurundjeri man, Alex Kerr, has an amazing story to tell. From starting as a trainee with AFL SportsReady, he is now working as a Trainee Site Supervisor at Barpa construction services where he gets to give back to his community. This year, Alex also had the incredible opportunity to share a special Welcome to Country at the memorial service for Cricket legend, Shane Warne. A moment in his life he said, he will never forget.
“It was an incredible experience and I felt honoured to speak at such an important occasion,” said Alex.
“When I was a young boy, I was at a cricket game and when Shane walked past me on the way back to the change room, I said “well batted Warnie” he responded with “thanks little man”. After 10mins he returned and asked if I wanted to spend the rest of the day with the team.
“After that day for 2 more years Shane would write letters to me seeing how I was going. This was the only connection I had with Shane but to this day it has made a big impact on my life and how I carry myself.”
Just like Shane, there are many people who have also had an impact in Alex’s life, including AFL Sports Ready’s Ralph White who encouraged him to take on a traineeship when he was 18, marking the beginning of his incredible career journey.
“It wasn’t really on my mind to do a traineeship, but I couldn’t pass on a good opportunity and having Ralph White, who was an Indigenous Mentor at the time, encouraging me to get involved, I couldn’t say no.
It was a significant steppingstone for me. As a young Indigenous man, for some of us “the real world” is a daunting place but I was guided by Ralph all the way and to this day we still keep in touch.”
In 2010, Alex commenced his traineeship at Dandenong Oasis Swimming pool while studying a Certificate in Community Sports.
“My traineeship provided me with all the tools required and a platform to really excel into a career. From customer service skills to time management skills and everything in between.
What really stood out was the practical experience. For me personally and most Indigenous people, practical learning is the best way for us to understand what we are trying to learn.
Now as I look back, I realise my traineeship opened so many doors for me that potentially would have never opened for me otherwise.”
Alex’s traineeship inspired him to keep growing and learning both personally and professionally. In 2015, after completing his traineeship, he was offered a Cadet position at Barpa Constructions and 8 years on he is now in his current role as Trainee SiteSupervisor. In-between, Alex also studied a Diploma of Building, Construction, and Construction Management at RMIT university to further his knowledge.
“Barpa is an Indigenous building company, and they are absolutely amazing. I have now been involved in this company since its birth and couldn’t be happier with my career. It’s a great place to work as not only do we get to build incredible facilities, but we also cater for the community and push Indigenous involvement/procurement to a new level. It’s very rewarding knowing I’m giving back to my people.”
Alex believes the AFL SportsReady program is what helped him get to where he is today and continues to advocate for traineeships especially in the community.
“These opportunities don’t only help the person undertaking the traineeship but for some families it helps “break the mould” and helps shapes future generations. Also, Some Indigenous people might be reluctant to try new things, but with the incredible mentors at AFL SportsReady they support you and encourage you to give it a go
I am proud of where I am today and the opportunities I have taken on, from the Welcome to Country at Shane Warne’s memorial to everything I have achieved in my traineeship and my career. I can’t wait to see where the future takes me.”
Explore the current opportunities listed, you can apply for traineeships over at the Jobs Board.
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IMAGE: Alex Kerr