The St George Illawarra Dragons in partnership with the Defence Force Recruiting team this week hosted Indigenous students from local Wollongong and South Coast communities and the NRL School to Work program.
The local students were provided with an opportunity to join the Dragons players as they completed a morning training session at WIN Stadium and watch their favourite NRL players.
Students were then given a tour of Dragons facilities and talked to staff from Australian Defence Force recruitment team as well as ADF employee and Dragons inaugural Women's Premiership player Talesha Quinn to learn about excellence in self, setting a standard of work and how to achieve and perform at a high level.
The service men and women were then able to provide insight into the many diverse roles that a career in the Australian Defence Force can be provided to Indigenous persons seeking a career pathway.
Students were then able to add some cultural flare to rugby league and hand painted some footballs, which are to be given out as this week’s celebration of NRL Indigenous Round. Local artist Lani Balzan was on hand to provide some guidance to the students as they designed up the footballs, ready for the team to take to the field this weekend.
Once the students, their mentors and school support staff had had their curiosities answered, the Dragons players returned to join the students for photo opportunities as well as being able to share with them some of their key motivations to achieve excellence in their chosen fields.
"The impact of days like these have a long lasting impression on our young ones, and genuinely provide our youth with motivation to achieve at a high standard," Program Manager of the NRL School to Work program Shaun Humphries said.
"For our Indigenous youth, seeing and hearing how young Indigenous stars of the NRL have worked through challenges to see out their dreams of creating a career pathway that consists of excellence as well as impacting on the lives of their families and the community, is an opportunity that programs like the NRL School to Work provides.
"That, along with the support of St George Illawarra Dragons, ADF and the federal government."
The Dragons have hosted events like these in previous years with the ADF and direct employment has occurred from them.
At this week's event, a number of students completed stage one of their pathway and completed a registration to attend the first round of testing with the ADF.
This partnership has helped to identify the correlation between excellence in self-achievement, excellence in your chosen profession and excellence in on field performance at a professional level. With the right attitude, support and guidance anything is possible.