Eight students were presented with Bennelong Cup scholarship programs and offered apprenticeships with BGIS, Scentre Group, United Group Limited and Bennelong Energy Services at the fourth Bennelong Cup.
NRL School to Work and Souths Cares in collaboration with BES and BGIS hosted the 26 February event, in which 16 teams vied for the 2021 Bennelong Cup in a touch football competition.
NRL School to Work, Souths Cares Nanga Mai Marri and Clontarf Foundation 2020 program graduates joined former NRL players including Cooper Cronk, Cliff Lyons and Steve Menzies.
After the game, a luncheon was attended by 240 people at Souths Juniors, where eight students were presented with Bennelong Cup scholarship programs and offered the apprenticeships. More than 45 young Indigenous project managers and graduates took part in the day.
“The events continue to grow year on year and, most importantly, identify and find more employment opportunities for Indigenous students,” says event organiser and director at Bennelong Energy Services, Gaven Sheehan. “The facilities management industry is one of the biggest employers in the country. The events are about finding the next generation to service our industry,” says Sheehan.
Twenty-four positions have been filled for Indigenous students since the inception of the Bennelong Cup, eight of which were offered this year in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, project management and administration. “Sport has proven to be an excellent catalyst for bringing employers and future employees together in a non-confrontational social context,” Sheehan adds.
The Australian Government, which has supported the NRL School to Work program since 2012, has agreed to provide an additional three years of funding.
“It is great to see that students have been able to establish themselves in career pathways that not only support them to develop their career aspirations, but provide access to resources that help to establish successful long-term careers,” says Shaun Humphries, NRL School to Work program manager.
NRL School to Work has seen 2500 students graduate from the Indigenous initiative. In 2020, despite COVID-19 disruptions to year 12 students, 500 students successfully achieved high school certificates across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.