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NRL wins global sports award for Indigenous program

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An Indigenous young man and an Indigenous young woman wearing dark polo neck shirts stand each side of a logo which says 'NRL One Community' with an Indigenous design in the background.
Supporting Indigenous youth to stay in school and get a job is the National Rugby League’s concern.
17 Feb 2017

The National Rugby League (NRL) was officially recognised on the international stage for their School to Work Program (S2W) at the annual Beyond Sport Awards held in London in October 2016.

The program was acknowledged for its success in providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with opportunities, through rugby league, to access quality programs across key social indicators such as education, employment and health.

Mark deWeerd is the NRL’s general manager of Indigenous Strategy.

“It’s great recognition for all the hard work that our team put in, but more importantly the opportunities that we are able to provide young people across Australia through the School to Work program, especially in the Indigenous community," Mark said.

The School to Work education and employment program utilises the positive profile of rugby league to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to stay at school, get a job, and be a role model for themselves, their families and their communities.

Brooke Spiteri from Richmond High School said the program has helped her set goals and achieve them.

“They offered great courses and excursions which were fantastic to meet new people and gain qualifications as well as helping me search and apply for jobs,” Brook said.

Participants are provided with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities to ensure they successfully complete school and transition into further study, training or meaningful employment.

Ricky Newell from Glenwood High School recently had the opportunity to undertake work experience in the NRL’s Media Department and described it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"The NRL School to Work Program has given me an opportunity that I thought I would never get. Over the past five days, I've learnt and understood that Rugby League isn't just a game. All the behind the scenes work is so important to its existence,” Ricky said.

“I've learnt various skills in the media department that I enjoyed doing including the news articles. I'm thankful for the School to Work program because I've had the chance to come and do something for the sport that I love.”

Find out more

The Australian Government is committed to improving education outcomes and opening pathways to stable careers for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provide $1.8million to the NRL across two years to deliver the School to Work programme to 500 Indigenous students.