Hawthorn Football Club. Striving. Always

Even as the Hawthorn Football Club recruits new talent, they never take their eyes off the ball for established players — preparing these elite athletes for life after football. FedUni is supporting this aim by delivering the Diploma of Project Management to Hawks players at their home stadium, Waverley Park.

The Diploma equips players with powerful skills to embark on a new career, or start their own enterprise, having run through their last AFL banner. On completion, players will be able to plan, manage and complete projects — from the first bounce to the final siren.

The class of 2016 includes nine senior Hawk’s players. Cyril Rioli, Jack Gunston, James Frawley, James Sicily, Dallas Willsmore, Jonathan O’Rourke, Taylor Duryea and Liam Shiels — sought after names for anyone’s footy-card collection — are among the participants.

Following an initial meeting with the AFL Players' Association, FedUni’s Damian Larkin approached the Hawthorn Football Club to offer an alternative learning approach. “Management programs had been delivered to AFL clubs before, but in many cases players didn’t get much out of it,” reports Damian. “By contrast, we customised the FedUni Diploma of Project Management around the Club, selecting suitable units and arranging flexible delivery.”

To accommodate the players’ hectic schedules, FedUni delivers the training on a weekly basis, with flexible times and days, at the team’s home ground. Some participants have also taken advantage of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) opportunities.

“The diploma will arm our guys with some really important skills,” explains Cam Matthews, Hawthorn Player Development Manager. “We encourage all our players to have an interest outside of footy and it’s great to see so many of our guys participating in the Diploma of Project Management.”

The diploma consists of 12 units, delivering project management skills that are transferrable across a plethora of industries. Participants are empowered to lead people, manage risk and oversee the scope, cost and quality of a project. They learn to manage time, information and procurement, and how to ensure a safe workplace.

Elite sports-people recognise that the road to reward is paved with effort and dedication. The FedUni team are also committed to the success and prosperity of their students — whether they are young bloods new to the arena or seasoned players preparing for life off the field.

* Australian Football League (AFL)