AFL SportsReady have launched an Indigenous Cadetship Program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students launch their career.

The cadetships offer paid opportunities to full-time students across a variety of industries and businesses such as Law, Arts, Engineering and Sport.

Cadets can work in their chosen field for up to 12 weeks per year for up to three years while receiving a study allowance of up to $12,000 in addition to a book and equipment allowance of up to $1,000 annually.

As part of the program the cadets are provided with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Mentor to support them throughout their journey.

AFL SportsReady Executive Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Programs, Sheena Watt, said their cadetship programs will help address the inequality in the job market for Indigenous graduates.

“We know that the market for graduates is highly competitive, and that Aboriginal job seekers whilst completing some highly in demand studies are not achieving the same outcomes in their careers as other graduates,” Ms Watt said.

“That’s why programs such as the Indigenous Cadetship Program allow opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to gain vital workplace, industry-specific experience during their studies, so they have a step up when it comes to the graduate workforce.”

Ms Watt believes the program will help the next generation of Indigenous leaders who are coming through the tertiary system.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership will come from all circles, we know that some will come up through wide-ranging academic experiences, through university studies, through TAFE studies, or some through on-the-ground workplace experience without university,” she said.

“For those that are going to come up to leadership by having a background in tertiary education, an opportunity like a cadetship will make the path even more successful over the period of their career.

“We’re really proud of our cadets and can’t wait to see where their career takes them.”

Kristen O’Brien is a Wiradjuri woman studying Public Relations and Advertising at the University of NSW.

She is completing her cadetship at the Sydney Swans Football Club in their media team and said the opportunity has given her a confidence boost in pursuing her career.

“I get to work in an amazing team and learn different skills and techniques from experts in the field of design and media,” Ms O’Brien said.

“I work alongside the senior graphic designer and get to work on designing posts for social media and graphics for the website for the Sydney Swans. It’s an awesome feeling to be exposed to this work while studying my degree … I feel like I am ahead of the game.

“Not to mention to have your own work being published on major platforms is one of the most rewarding parts about the role.”

Another cadet, Whadjuk Noongar man Taylor Cortez, is studying an Architecture degree at Curtin University in Perth and is completing his cadetship at Peter Hobbs Architects.

The architecture cadet said this opportunity has given him relevant experience and a network that will assist him in establishing a career after graduating.

“I took on the cadetship knowing that it would benefit me greatly by enhancing my studies and assist me in discovering the relevance of what has been taught in my degree,” Mr Cortez said.

“This was really appealing to me, the fact that I knew by taking on a cadetship I will make connections and build relationships in the architecture industry. The opportunity has already opened up so many avenues for me that would have been otherwise out of reach.”

For more information about the AFL SportsReady Cadetship Program, contact the recruitment team at: [email protected].

By Sarah Mozley