Next Goal: Engineering careers after football

Next Goal: Engineering careers after football

Collingwood ruckman and forward Mason Cox continues to impress both on and off the field, thanks to his work placement at one of the world’s largest packing companies, Orora Limited under AFL SportsReady’s Next Goal Program.

The program delivered in partnership with the AFL Players’ Association has seen the American import prepare for his exciting career after sport, building on impressive mechanical engineering skills already obtained back home in the United States. 

‘It’s been great. There’s always something new and different at Orora every day. New machinery and new challenges, along with projects to tweak or figure out,’ the 25 year old explained.

‘You get to wrap your head around so many different aspects of the company – it keeps me on my toes. There’s always different things I can work on and apply what I’ve learned at college to real situations.’

Named as one of the tallest players ever measured in the AFL Combine (standing at 211cm tall), the Project Engineer on work placement has proven himself as a valuable addition to the Orora team. 

Capital Project Manager Wayne Aquilina agrees, hailing the Oklahoma State University graduate a success. 

‘Mason gets involved in all of the different facets of our projects. A key project is the $20 million upgrade to our plant, including a state-of-the-art bag manufacturing line and construction of a new warehouse and administration building,’ explained Mr Aquilina.

‘With his mechanical engineering skills, Mason understands the concepts involved in our work. He understands our tasks and projects, so it has been working well. It’s been a win-win opportunity,’ he said.

The team at Orora’s Thomastown site has also enjoyed the thrill of working with a professional footballer, despite some of the office declaring their support for the mighty Blues.

‘Mason fits in well. We have a bit of fun in the office as we are footy mad here too. A few of our employees are Carlton supporters, so Mason expects a bit of banter by Monday,’ he laughed. 

‘However, we have tried to make the environment a bit more of a getaway from football and the best learning environment possible for Mason.’

The Magpie forward has also expressed his appreciation to Orora with the company offering flexibility when it comes to his football and Next Goal Program commitments.

‘Sportsready staff have been a great support and have checked-in on my progress throughout the placement. With the season wrapping up, we get time to go over the whole experience and plan for the next stage of my professional development,’ explained Mason.

‘Orora has also been really understanding of last minute changes with scheduling in relation to injuries that suddenly come up. They’ve been more than happy to allow me to balance two things at once.’

‘Footy does take up quite bit of my life. But knowing I can come here on days off and learn something new for my future career has been great – it gives you a different aspect on life.’

DATE: 13th August 2016 

IMAGE: Mason Cox and Wayne Aquilina

AUTHOR: Alexia Boland