by Marissa Pagliarello
Taylor Cortez. Image: supplied
Creating opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous leaders
AFL SportsReady’s new cadetship program is paving the way for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students at University by giving them the opportunity to gain paid industry experience in their field of study.
The cadetship offers opportunities across a number of different businesses/industries including law, engineering, architecture, sport, arts, business and more. Cadets works in their chosen industry for 12 weeks per year, 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 their experience cadets are also provided with access to an AFL SportsReady Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Mentor to support them throughout their journey.
Proud Whadjuk Noongar man and WA cadet, Taylor Cortez, is currently studying an Architecture degree at Curtin University while completing his cadetship at Peter Hobs Architect in Perth. He believes the opportunity will open up many doors in the industry and set him up post-degree.
“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,” said Taylor.
“I also took on the opportunity to gain exposure in the industry where I see my future in,” he added.
By gaining hands-on work experience in their chosen industry, cadets are better prepared for the workforce and come out of the program with a range of skills and a newly formed network that will aid in their career pathway.
“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.”
“It has no doubt given me the leading edge when it comes to employability,” said Taylor.
Proud Wiradjuri woman, Kristen O’Brien from Sydney is studying PR advertising at the University of NSW and is completing a cadetship at the Sydney Swans in their Media team.
“I get to work in an amazing team and learn different skills and techniques from experts in the field of design and media,” said Kristen.
“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 and this gives me a great boost of confidence.”
“Not to mention to have your own work being published on major platforms is one of the most rewarding parts about the role.”
Ricky Emili, a proud Kokatha man from SA who is completing his cadetship at leading construction company Hansen Yuncken also believes seeing his work being put into action is the best part about the opportunity.
“It is one of the most amazing feelings to see my work being put out into the field or applied to the project,” said Ricky.
“I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Construction Management at the University of SA and I am loving it but to actually be working in the field and contributing to the company before even finishing my degree, takes my future to the next level.”
“My advice to anyone thinking of taking on a cadetship is – go for it and give it all you have! This is your shot at breaking into the industry you are most passionate about. This is the ticket to your career. You will be networked and you will come out with a huge amount of skills, a wealth of knowledge and a surge of confidence that will make you look brilliant to your employers in the future.”
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