More than 60 Indigenous students from across Australia and New Zealand swapped the classroom for the trading room when they paid a visit to Gold Coast’s Bond University, as part of the NRL School to Work program.
The year 11 students’ visit included interactive sessions at the university’s Transformer entrepreneurial hub, trading room, mooting court, and a science-based session.
The NRL also ran a leadership program on campus with the students in the afternoon.
Bond University general manager learning services, Jason Murray, said all 64 students were affiliated to NRL clubs and were visiting the Gold Coast for a leadership camp ahead of the NRL All Stars game.
Mr Murray said the visit to the Bond campus was designed to showcase career opportunities to the students that they otherwise may not have thought of.
“It’s just an experience for the students to show them what they could study at Bond University, what tends to happen is a lot of students might have an idea for a traditional kind of career, they don’t necessarily know what their options are until they come here.”
He said the university felt privileged to support the NRL School to Work program, and was hopeful of being able to host students again, if the All Stars game returned to the Gold Coast in the future.
The NRL School to Work program uses the profile of rugby league to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to complete their schooling and successfully transition into further education or employment, by providing them with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities.
The program is backed by NRL players, clubs, and staff, alongside community organisations and government and business supporters. It has supported more than 2000 Indigenous students over the past seven years.
NRL School to Work program manager Shaun Humphries said the students enjoyed their visit to Bond, Australia’s first private, not-for-profit university.
“The tour of the Bond facilities really opened up the students’ eyes to the real possibilities of a supported and genuine career pathway that can be established at Bond University.”
Paul Sinclair, director of education at cultural awareness training organisation Mirri Mirri, which helped facilitate the students’ week-long camp, was grateful for the students having the chance to visit Bond.
“Many of these students come from Indigenous communities all over New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand, often they’ve never had a family member attend university, they’ve never set foot on a university campus, today’s about giving them an experience and about breaking down any perceived barriers they might have about university, and have them thinking about tertiary as a post-schooling option.
“For a lot of our indigenous community, financial literacy is something we haven’t been taught, so to get opportunities to learn about investments and where to put your money, it’s a real eye-opening experience for them.”