The NRL continues to lead the way on and off the field with the successful launch of the Manly Sea Eagles Apprentice Mentoring program on Friday at the Bulldogs vs Sea Eagles game at Brookvale Oval. A group of employers and potential employers of Manly Holden Cup players came together with Manly and NRL staff to find out more about how the program works and engage in business networking opportunities at the same time.
As part of the “Trade up with the NRL” program Matt Ballin and Glenn Moore have been working as mentors to apprentices employed by the various employer groups who attended the event.
The Apprentice Mentoring program, which is funded by the Australian Government, focuses on supporting apprentices in identified areas of skill shortage to successfully complete their apprenticeship. This support is especially important in the first year of an apprenticeship where there tends to be a higher dropout rate (47%) nationally. The NRL’s Apprentice Mentoring program has had a positive impact on engagement, retention and completion rates through the support of mentors like Matt and Glenn who have followed similar pathways.
“It’s great to be able to help younger players who aspire to play NRL while completing a trade and meeting the many challenges that they face, Ballin said.
Luke Williamson, Club Education and Welfare Manager, Judy Fitzgerald, Club Career Coach and Glenn Moore, Club Apprentice Mentor, are to be congratulated for organising the event which helped raise awareness and promoted the NRL’s Trade Up program. Over 30 employers and Tafe teachers attended the event which may provide further employment opportunities for players at the Club. Those in attendance included representatives from Coastline Remedial Carpentry, Col Crawford Cars, John O’Neill Construction, AMPlus Group, GT Mahoney Bricklaying, Tradie Exchange, St Leonards TAFE, Australian Training Company, Housing Industry Association and ATEL.
There was plenty of positive feedback coming from the employers regarding their apprentices and it illustrates how important the mentoring program has been in improving communication between the various parties. John O’Neil from O’Neil Construction said “It’s great to see the level of support available to players and the emphasis the NRL and the Club put on developing an off-field career.”
John played rugby league and was pleasantly surprised to hear what the game does in the Education and Welfare space.
Steve Roddick from Amplus Auto Body Pty Ltd said of his apprentice, Leonati Feiloakitua, that he is very diligent, takes pride in his work and does well academically: “He will be a very good tradesman if he keeps going the way he is and applies himself to the trade craft that he is now learning. He is a credit to his family, who I know play a large part in his life by instilling these values. Chook is well liked by his co-workers, and is always willing to help out where it's needed. I know he will apply the same diligence and values in his football career, and I think your mentoring program will be invaluable to all the boys that are involved.”
Senior Education and Welfare Manager Paul Heptonstall noted that “Nights like these are important not only for the networking opportunities and recognising those employers who give our players meaningful employment opportunities but also to spread the word about the NRL’s Education and Welfare programs.”
The event was also well attended by the NRL Education and Welfare team including, Tony McFadyen, NYC Holden Cup Manager, Jane Lowder, NRL CareerWise Program Manager, Cathryn Raper, NRL Education and Welfare Operations Co-Ordinator and John Hutchinson, NRL Apprentice Mentoring Program Manager.