With the first university semester of the year just around the corner, the Canberra Raiders have announced they have registered a record number of University students and apprentices for 2014.
This year the Raiders have proven to be one of the premier clubs in the NRL in terms of off-field development of their NRL and NYC players.
Canberra’s combined figures for the NRL and NYC squads sees the club situated as the leadier in the game in terms of apprentice numbers and equal second in terms of University registrations.
“The club works hard to emphasise to our players, no matter what age they are, that education and development is just as important off the field as it is on the field,” Raiders Welfare Manager David Thom said.
“We as a club are extremely happy with the number of enrollments we have had this year and we will be working hard to support the players in their studies and work placements as well as hopefully increasing these figures next year.
“We want athletes that join our club to not only be better players for being a part of the Raiders, but to become better people also and we believe off-field education will play a big part in that.
“The NRL as a whole should also be congratulated in investing so much time and resources into supporting education and employment programs to prepare players for life after football.”
The Raiders currently have:
* 16 players enrolled in University;
* 11 players enrolled to study a diploma;
* 7 players enrolled to study a Certificate 1 or Certificate IV; and
* 18 players enrolled to undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Whilst the enrollments are an impressive feat in themselves, what is more impressive is the effort the Raiders have gone to in supporting the players’ studies in 2014.
Thom and the club’s welfare and education department had gone to great lengths to ensure that Raiders players would be able to access flexible University of Canberra degree programs under a new deal with the University of Canberra.
University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker signed a new Memorandum of Understanding late last year between the club and the University’s Faculty of Business, Government and Law to help Raiders players develop skills for their careers post sport and also to create new study and research opportunities.
“The University of Canberra is committed to making flexible study options available to students for whom attending classes in the traditional way is difficult or not possible,” Professor Parker said.
“This includes elite sports people, who need some flexibility to undertake study in ways that can be tailored to their own availability around training and game schedules. This arrangement specifically extends that flexibility to Raiders players.
“As an Elite Athlete Friendly University, we are aware of the special needs of elite sports people, but also of how beneficial it can be to balance the physical challenge of high performance sport, with the mental workout of university study.
“I congratulate the Raiders on their commitment to education and I look forward to working with them on this partnership.”
Professor Parker also said the faculty would also offer credit towards degrees to Raiders players who had completed a relevant diploma. Units would be delivered mainly online, but with face-to-face support, and with flexibility around the pace of study to allow players to work around their training schedule and the NRL season.