Ahead of Melbourne Storm’s Round 6 clash, the NRL School to Work Program and Club Community Partner, Coles, invited students to AAMI Park for an interactive day of cultural and developmental experiences.
Aboriginal Year 12 students from Thornbury High School, Hallam Senior College, Sunbury College, Kurunjang Secondary College and Copperfield College participated in the special day.
To start, Rob Hyatt from the Koorie Heritage Trust took the students on a Cultural Walk around the MCG and Birrarung Marr, sharing the history and significance of the sites and how they have shaped Melbourne as a city today.
Rob encouraged all students to be proud of their culture and identity as a part of the longest living culture in the world.
Students then watched the Storm players prepare for their winning match over the Roosters at Captain’s run where Coles provided morning tea, before heading into the players team meeting room to hear from Coles’ Indigenous Engagement Officer, Marty Taylor.
Marty shared with students the ongoing commitment, Coles has to supporting Aboriginal communities through their employment strategy, community programs, and supporting and celebrating culture through community events and gatherings. With employment positions available, many of the program participants took up the opportunity to work with the Australian grocer.
The students also heard from Deadly Choices and Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) representative, Ethan Penrith who shared information about their programs and impact within the community.
Storm player and proud Wiradjuri man, Jordan Grant, presented hoodies to four of the School to Work Program students who will be representing the Club at the annual NRL Indigenous Youth Summit. Nanjera Pender, Ruby-Lee Brolly, Byron Davies Smith and James Aitken will travel to Sydney for the event ahead of Indigenous Round.
Finally, Storm Academy and Coles First Nations Pathway Program players, Gabriel Satrick, Matthew Hill and Stanley Huen, spoke to students about the sacrifice of leaving their communities, culture and families to pursue their lifelong ambition in playing NRL. They shared the importance of working hard, keeping focussed, and gaining support from people around you to achieve your goals.
The NRL School to Work program is funded by the Australian Government and supports young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities to ensure they successfully complete school and transition into further study, training or meaningful employment.
We would like to thank Coles, Koorie Heritage Trust, VAHS and Deadly Choices on making our day such a successful one.