SPONSORED: In a first at AFL SportsReady, three proud Yorta Yorta siblings from Bendigo, are taking on a school-based traineeship at the same time and inspiring each other along the way.

As part of the traineeship, they work one day a week with their host employer, complete a fully funded qualification all while completing high school. The trio’s mother, Rebecca Kerr, believes that traineeships can change your children’s lives.

“In my family, only one of my nieces graduated Year 12, but this program is not only giving them a drive for their future career but a determination to finish school,” said Ms Kerr.

Ms Kerr never finished Year 10, so she wanted to give her kids the opportunities she never had.

“As a parent and having three kids go through the traineeship program, I know I have made the right choice in encouraging them to do this. I can see their confidence grow, their drive to keep moving forward, the real-world experience they have gained and all while they are still at school,” said Ms Kerr.

It was Georgia Males who got the ball rolling in her family when she took on a traineeship at the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) when she was in Year 11. Since then, Georgia’s traineeship has been extended, having made such a positive impact at her branch in Strath Village. Georgia was also awarded AFL SportsReady’s 2020 Victorian Indigenous Trainee of the Year award.

“Georgia just thrives in her traineeship. She used to be a pretty shy girl, but this experience has boosted her confidence, and she is doing so well, so much so that she hopes to gain full-time employment after her traineeship, and I believe no doubt she will,” said Ms Kerr.

“She has everything she needs now to succeed in the workforce, from skillset to maturity.”

Georgia’s brother Tony was so inspired by his sister he decided to follow in her footsteps and take on a traineeship also at the CBA but at the Eaglehawk branch.

“Tony is completing a school-based traineeship in business while in Year 12 and loving it. I can see how much it is preparing him for life outside of high school but at the same time shaping him into being a responsible young adult.”

Seeing the success from her older brother and sister, Marykia, the youngest of the three at only 15, is completing her business traineeship at Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC).

“All three are constantly motivating, inspiring and encouraging each other. They are all so driven to complete and then carry everything they gain into their career moving forward,” said Ms Kerr.

In addition, the siblings are supported by their AFL SportsReady Field Officer, Michael Caruso, Educator Keith Smith and Mentor Ralph White.

“I can’t stress enough how much I and my kids have been supported throughout this journey.”

“We are guided by three incredibly passionate people who put in everything so the kids can leave the traineeship with real outcomes,” said Ms Kerr.

“Just to show you the amount of care, even when Ralph was on his holidays, he would still call and message me to see how my kids were going. He even put aside time on his holiday to prepare Marykia before she started. It was just unbelievable.”

Ms Kerr hopes more parents, especially those of young Indigenous people, encourage their children to consider a traineeship in school or post-school.

“I speak from experience, and I speak as a parent, the traineeship can change your children’s lives.”

AFL SportsReady is currently running a nationwide recruitment drive to fill over 70 school-based traineeships for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students currently in Year 10 and looking to take on this opportunity as part of their Year 11 and 12 studies in 2022-23.

Thanks to a partnership with the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people will have access to quality finance industry job opportunities.

If you or someone you know may be interested in a school-based traineeship, head over to our website or click here.