Indigenous Advancement


The St George Illawarra Dragons are committed to reconciliation and to promoting greater understanding of Aboriginal cultures and Indigenous advancement within our catchment and the wider community. 

The overall aim of the Dragons Indigenous Mentoring programs is to engage young Indigenous children in a love of learning. Dragons players assist students with school work and participate in various activities.  

Proudly supported by the NRL All Stars

NRL School to Work Program

St George Illawarra Dragons NRL School 2 Work (S2W) Project Officer and former NRL player Daniel Holdsworth were accompanied by two student involved in the program at WIN Stadium, Wollongong recently.

Shakeela Willliams and Jayden Stynes from Vincentia High School were interviewed by Dragons TV to speak about the program and discuss how it has impacted their academic endeavours and aspirations.

They also mentioned the importance and relevance of NRL Indigenous Round.

Dragons second-rower and Indigenous All Star Joel Thompson spent time talking to the students about the S2W program and shared stories about his time at school and his current academic pursuits at University of Wollongong.  

What is the School to Work program?

The School 2 Work program is an education and employment program that utilises the positive profile of the game of rugby league to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to stay at school, get a job, and be a legend for themselves, their families and their communities.

A combined initiative of the 10 NRL clubs including the St George Illawarra Dragons, the Australian Government's Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the National Rugby League;

S2W provides young Indigenous Australians with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities to ensure they successfully complete school and transition into further study, training or meaningful employment.

The S2W Program is backed by an exceptional team of NRL players, staff, community, government and business supporters.

Why was the School to Work Program formed?

In 2012 four NRL Clubs joined forces to deliver the S2W Program to address the Australian Government's key 'Closing the Gap' targets for Indigenous students in Western Sydney.

They are:

  • To halve the gap for Indigenous students in year 12 equivalent attainment by 2020; and,
  • To halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

The Dragons became involved in the program for the first time in 2015.

Learning centres

The St George Illawarra Dragons players assisted with mentoring programs in learning centres as well as programs with the Smith Family and Mission Australia, engaging young Indigenous students in a love of learning with regular visits during terms two and three to our nominated learning centres.

Jervis Bay School Program

The St George Illawarra Dragons, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong, have commited to assist students at Jervis Bay Public School and the wider Wreck Bay Community, Bellambi Public School, Kemblawarra Public School and the Coomaditchie Community Centre. 

Our role is to encourage students to aspire towards higher learning and consider tertiary studies including TAFE and University. 

All Stars

The St George Illawarra Dragons, in conjunction with the NRL All Stars have successfully provided increased opportunities, through rugby league, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to access quality programs aimed at closing the gap between Indigenous and other Australians across key social indicators such as education, employment and health. 

The main focus of the program demonstrates how sport can play an active role in sustainable social change.