Professor Romy Lawson and Port Adelaide Chief Executive Officer Matthew Richardson stand side-by-side after forging a new partnership between PAFC and Flinders University. Image: Brooke Bowering.

A NEW partnership will see the Port Adelaide Football Club and Flinders University launch a first of its kind education pathway in South Australia providing students with AFL industry experience for careers in sports management.

The newly created Port Adelaide Institute of Sport will be the exclusive home for Flinders University’s new Diploma in Sports Management, giving students’ access to elite performance facilities, and industry experts with decades of knowledge across the AFL club’s renowned men’s and women’s programs, through hands on work experience in Port Adelaide’s daily operations.

The Diploma is underpinned by the quality pedigree of the Flinders University curriculum, and students in the year-long course will gain practical insights into the operations of an AFL club, with two candidates guaranteed graduate roles at the Port Adelaide Football Club on completion of the course.

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As part of full-time studies at the redeveloped Alberton Oval, students will be embedded in the South Australian sport and business industry as they complete 100 hours of hands-on work experience across Port Adelaide’s various professional departments with players, management, partners, and staff.

Students planning further study will also have pathway options to undergraduate programs by enrolling in the second year of the Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), Bachelor of Business or the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity at Flinders University.

The Diploma is a first of its kind education pathway in South Australia. Image: Brooke Bowering.

Port Adelaide Football Club CEO, Matthew Richardson is excited about what this innovative partnership with Flinders University will mean for students interested in pursuing a career within the sports industry.

“I am excited by the education and employment opportunities and pathways this partnership with Flinders University will provide for not only students who are currently completing their secondary education, but also for cohorts in years to come”, Mr. Richardson said.

“The Diploma provides a brand-new pathway for students who want to explore a career in sport, and also gives them the chance to unlock unparalleled, hands-on work experience across various departments at the club, and importantly opens doors for further undergraduate education at Flinders.

“The AFL is a significant industry in its own right with genuine career pathways. Not all of us can be AFL players, but we can all build exciting career options across a wide range of professions in the AFL and this course provides a unique entry point to that.

“Our staff, coaches and even some players will be involved in delivering specific aspects of the program, giving students a chance to learn first-hand from some highly experienced people in the AFL industry.”  

Creating a new pathway for students who want to explore a career in sport, the Diploma will provide students unique hands-on experiences. Image: Brooke Bowering.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Romy Lawson says the collaboration offers a unique pathway for students with a passion for AFL, and sports in general, seeking to develop business and management skills applicable for careers in Australia’s growing sporting industries.

“Many South Australian students would dream of the unparalleled opportunity of gaining hands on learning opportunities at an AFL club, and this program with Port Adelaide is providing the industry experience by embedding them in the club’s operations at Alberton.

“Flinders University is establishing a curriculum and providing our teaching expertise to create unparalleled opportunities for our students in the AFL industry, so they can develop the skills and knowledge to manage professional players and community sports programs at the highest level.

“We’re looking forward to rolling out this exciting program and providing students with the opportunity to learn through work integrated placements that truly inspire them.”

The program is combining a variety of teaching methods, including face-to-face learning at Alberton’s new world-class facilities, and the Diploma will provide students with the strong foundations to work in an elite sporting organisation or in the broader business and sporting community.

The launch of the Diploma in Sport Management follows Port Adelaide Football Club and Flinders University collaborating on the Santos Aboriginal Power Cup, a flagship community initiative helping Aboriginal students achieve their goals through improvements in school attendance and graduation rates in Indigenous communities.

Hundreds of students from SA schools take part in the annual two-day football carnival with the initiative directly linked to Closing the Gap targets in Australian high schools.