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NRL School To Work program completed by more than 2,000 students

NRL School To Work program completed by more than 2,000 students
March 4, 2020

The NRL's School to Work program continues has passed a major milestone with over 2,000 students completing the Indigenous initiative.

2019 also saw the biggest cohort to date undertaking the program with over 450 students finishing their HSC, attaining a 96% achievement rate.

In 2020, more than 500 students have started Year 12 in 2020 via the program across NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Funded by the Federal Government, the NRL School to Work program is an Indigenous education and employment initiative that started in 2012 with funding committed until the end of 2020.

Commenting, at the end of last year, on the success of the program, Shaun Humphries, NRL School to Work Program Manager, stated “since inception we have continued to kick major milestones. It is a significant achievement to assist over 2,000 students and to exceed over 450 participating in the program this year. The 96% achievement rate is also impressive. The success of the program has been multi-layered including helping the students find a school placement, assisting with the critical decision-making phase of their schooling through to transitioning into the workplace.

"More than 90% of all participants have either commenced employment or further education since program inception. Feedback received from students, parents, teachers and employers has been tremendous. In addition, the program has the resources and support of the NRL and its clubs to engage and inspire its participants to achieve and set a standard of excellence."

"The rugby league community has played an integral role in encouraging young Indigenous Australians to complete their schooling and transition into further education or employment. Eleven of the NRL clubs assist the program."

In 2017, the overall achievement rate for Indigenous students nationally was 83.2%, according to the Federal Government's Close the Gap report.

Humphries went on to say, "we are focused on creating additional employment opportunities for students and have turned our attention to facilities management companies and project managers to become involved in the program. These industries employ thousands of people across a wide range of building sites including stadiums, power facilities and commercial office towers.

"These sectors have already employed several students graduating from the program and we hope to continue to leverage off existing relationships to further extend our reach to provide a supportive and culturally safe working environment. This year, five of the largest facilities management and project management companies in Australia including CBRE, BGIS, Cushman Wakefield, Evolve FM and Hutchison Builders will again participate in the program as well as smaller contractors including Bennelong Energy Services."

Gaven Sheehan, Director at Bennelong Energy Services, a contractor business to the facilities management industry has employed several students participating in the NRL School to Work program.

Sheehan added "it is important to grow our next generation of tradespeople and facilities management staff. The facilities management industry is one of the fastest growing and provides numerous employment opportunities for students.

"My company is very proud of what we have achieved by guiding three Indigenous students into their third and fourth-year apprenticeships. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship that has been embraced by our 30 plus workplace who have enjoyed the opportunity to explore and understand Indigenous culture.”

On 14th February, more than 30 Indigenous graduates of the School to Work and Souths Cares Nanga Mai Marri programs participated in the third annual Bennelong Cup at Randwick Barracks in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

Image: NRL's School to Work program graduates and mentors (top) and School to Work program graduates at the Bennelong Cup with former and current NRL players including Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies and Greg Inglis (below). Images courtesy of the NRL.

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