Paving the way for women in sport
Queenslander Jemma Whitnall is breaking into the sporting industry and it’s thanks to her traineeship with AFL SportsReady. 19 year old Jemma scored a traineeship at Queensland Rugby League (QRL) earlier this year working as a Competitions Support Officer while studying Certificate III in Business.
‘I am very lucky to be here, it feels like a dream. I’ve always wanted to work in the sporting industry so to find a company that gives young people the opportunity to do so is pretty unreal,’ she said.
‘I think we are seeing a positive shift for women in sport and I’m really excited to be part of it.’
Jemma credits her start in Queensland Rugby League to AFL SportsReady, saying the organisation supported her every step of the way to help her make her passion for the industry a reality.
Impressed with her enthusiasm and love for sport, former rugby league star and Major Competitions Manager, Dave Maiden was keen to give Jemma the traineeship position right away.
‘We were searching for a junior team member we could train. Someone who was capable of starting from the bottom and working their way up to the top and we found that in Jemma,’ he explained.
‘She has brought an inspiring strength to the organisation. We introduced a new scoring computer system that had we had initial issues with. Jemma took it and ran with it and used her capabilities and skills to make it shine,’ he added.
Some of Jemma’s duties include, managing admin tasks, helping in game day operations and playing a major part in running the new Live QRL website. She is also currently being trained go take on even bigger projects.
‘My role so far has been incredible. I’ve been to event launches, functions and I have met some of my sporting idols that I had been watching since a little girl. Some even know be my name now,’ she said.
The young go-getter will also be a part of the operations side of the State of Origin later this year.
‘This whole experience and opportunity is rare to come by at my age.’
‘I always thought teens would be right at the bottom in the workforce not working in amazing organisations like the QRL and helping with major projects. I can definitely say I wouldn’t be here without AFL SportsReady.’
Jemma is set to finish her traineeship at the end of the year and will go on to full-time employment with QRL.
UPDATED: 29th November 2016
IMAGE: JEMMA WHITNALL
AUTHOR: MARISSA PAGLIARELLO