NRL Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, Indigenous All Stars Coach Laurie Daley and NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year member Luke Burt joined the students and their families in the celebrations to talk about the importance of pursing higher education and career pathways.
Fourteen students from the Bulldogs catchment were involved in the ceremony. The students from local schools were honoured in recognition of the hard work and dedication they have shown throughout the year, working closely with Bulldogs Indigenous officer Dean Feeney.
The Learn Earn Legend School to Work program was developed to create successful career pathways for Indigenous students in Years 11 and 12 in participating schools across Western Sydney and is a combined initiative of the NRL, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and western Sydney-based Rugby League clubs including the Bulldogs, Eels, Panthers and Tigers.
Rugby League is strongly committed to improving the lives of young Indigenous Australians and this mornings graduation function is the perfect example of all areas of the game working together to achieve results, Mattiske said.
This morning we shared breakfast with program graduates, NRL and Club representatives from the Bulldogs, Panthers, Wests Tigers, Eels, Toyota Cup team members, corporate partners and government representatives.
As a game we understand and embrace our role in closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and we are pleased with our progress to date.
In 2011, 427 students (68% of a total 626) successfully transitioned into further education, training or employment through the School to Work programs taking place in our NRL clubs in Queensland, Newcastle and now Western Sydney.
We currently have an additional 970 student engaged in the program, which is an outstanding result, Mattiske said.
The Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Julie Collins congratulated the graduates on their fantastic achievement.
Programs like the National Rugby Leagues School to Work Program are an important part of the Learn Earn legend initiatives.
The initiatives encourage and support young Indigenous Australians to stay at school, get a job and be a legend for themselves, their family and their community.
Our $1.2 million commitment to the School to Work Program over three years is part of the Australian Governments $650 million Indigenous Employment Program, said Ms Collins.
The Bulldogs would like to extend their congratulations to the following 2012 Learn Earn Legend! School to Work Western Sydney Graduates:
Dale MulliganBass Hill High School
Ryan FermorBass Hill High School
Jake CollageBass Hill High School
Michael StevensBass Hill High School
Marika RaikalevuEast Hills High School
Shane PollEast Hills High School
Sarah-Maree AllenGranville South Technical college
Keith ColliganGranville South Technical College
Mariah ReynoldsEast Hills Girls Technology High School
Therese HoldenEast Hills Girls Technology High School
Taminya BrownChester Hills High School
Jason Heath East Hills Boys High School
Jenny RhodesEast Hill Boys High School
Michael StevensBass Hill Boys High School
Chailee McDonoghWestfields Sports High
Matthew DoranBonnyrigg High School
Natalie AgiusWyndham College
Jordyn CollessThe Hills Sports High School
Danica WhitehouseWestfield Sports High School
Ben WhitehouseWestfield Sports High School
Matt WhitehouseWestfield Sports High School
Apolosa NimacereWyndham College
Harry PittBonnyrigg High School
Tim Dargan Wyndam College
Jordan WatsonWyndham College
Ricky FirthWyndham College
Caitlin ReganSarah Redfern High School
Leanka ShillingsworthSarah Redfern High School
Lisa HarrisLeumeah High School
Luke HumphriesLeumeah High School
Chloe MattersonSt Patricks High School
Carley-Jade ChesterfieldAirds High School
Nikki McCallSt Patricks High School
Bailey- Maree BeaumontSt Patricks High School
Tamara SummersAshcroft High School
Jestyn Nand Ashcroft High School
Shannon RyanEagle Vale High School
Abbi WhilockPicton High school
Codey EdwardsAshcroft High School
Jake LewisBidwell Chiefly College
Dylan CallaghanChifley College
John Haines Chifley College
Luke HemmingsChifley College
Corey Lowe Chifley College
Ryan McCormackChifley College
Jessica MillgateChifley College
Osea SewebeChifley College
Dean BrownlieDoonside High School
Jordan JohnsonDoonside High School
Kayla Jones Doonside High School
Taylor Reynolds-AddoDoonside High School
Cassandra JohnsJamison High School
Dorothy JohnsJamison High School
Mitchell ShearerJamison High School
Brooke CamillariLoyola High School
Natashia CarrollLoyola High School
Eli DelaneyLoyola High School
Jacqueline FogartyLoyola High School
Heather LamyLoyola High School
Cassie Ryan Loyola High School
Kate WrightPlumpton High School
Matthew KennedySt Dominics College
Carlos RojasSt Dominics College
Tyler Spicer St Dominics College
Jye Taylor-LaneSt Dominics College
Throughout the holiday period students involved in the program, including recent year 12 graduates will be taking part in activities at the Western Sydney Clubs; learning new skills and interacting with NRL players over a barbeque.