Media Release

Kicking career goals

SANFL is teaming up with the State Government as part of a new campaign to encourage more South Australians to take up pathways to skilled careers.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the 12 month-partnership is part of the Skilled Careers – Your Passion campaign, launched in May.

“The SANFL is more than just the peak body for football in South Australia, it’s a trusted voice, with the ability to reach people from diverse backgrounds, of all ages, and across regional South Australia,” Minister Pisoni said.

“They are at the heart of the community, managing juniors, school footy, regional, women’s and men’s leagues, as well as a large representation of Aboriginal and multicultural participants and players with disability.

“This is part of our strong campaign around apprenticeships and traineeships and will add to the career conversations taking place in clubrooms, grandstands and around the grounds on game days, and during the finals series at Adelaide Oval.

“Through this partnership we want to provide football players, followers, young people and their parents and mentors with information about the thousands of jobs in our fast-growing industries possible through apprenticeships and traineeships.”

SANFL Chief Executive Officer Jake Parkinson said SANFL was pleased to be partnering with the State Government to engage with male and female football participants about upskilling for future job opportunities.

“With 51,000 registered players at over 250 clubs, the partnership will create a strong and wide-reaching connection with young men and women right across the state,” Mr Parkinson said.

“The partnership aligns well with our vision for healthier, more connected lives through the enjoyment of footy and will help SANFL in its endeavour to build the benefits of sport into the fabric of strong and vibrant communities.”

The campaign is a $1.6 million investment promoting the benefits of commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship and to shine a positive light on the value of a skilled career pathway.

“This campaign is an important part of the Skilling South Australia initiative, which is reversing the historical decline in enrolments in apprenticeships and traineeships in SA and creating an additional 20,800 apprentices and trainees over four years,” Minister Pisoni said.

Glenelg senior footballer Michael Virgin, 26, completed an electrical apprenticeship and today successfully combines State League football with running his own small business.  

“It all starts with the apprenticeship and working for someone else, I did that when I was first out of school,” he said.

“It’s where you do all your learning and get all your experience. I found that I did most of my learning out on site working as much as trade school…it set me up to be well positioned to start my own show.”

“I’ve managed to be able to find a good balance, it’s been about nine years now of working and playing footy.”

Michael said many informal career conversations started in the clubrooms among players.

“A lot of the younger boys at my footy club have asked questions about it (a trade). I think (this campaign) sends the right message and will encourage them to get an apprenticeship whilst they enjoy their football,” he said.

Likewise North Adelaide player and qualified carpenter/builder Jake Keller, 27, says having a skilled career under his belt has stood him in good stead for life after football.

“I’m getting later on in my career and it’s good to know that I’ve got a business and a trade behind me,” Jake said.

“The beauty of an apprenticeship is you can always take it up at mature age as well, a lot of older players do look to take on that.

“With a trade, once you have it, is a qualification you’ve got for life.”

Pictured above (L-R): Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni, North Adelaide’s Jake Keller, Glenelg’s Michael Virgin and SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson.