Recently retired and delisted AFL players came together in Torquay on Monday and Tuesday to take part in the second annual AFL Players’ Association Transition Camp.
The Transition Camp, which is run in partnership with AFL SportsReady and career consulting firm TwoPointZero, provides former players with the opportunity to build on the personal and career development insights they uncovered during their playing years.
Travis Cloke, Lee Spurr, Michael Barlow, Jack Fitzpatrick, Rhys Palmer, Tom Bell and Jimmy Toumpas were among those who participated in sessions focused on networking, LinkedIn, mental health, the job market, interview skills and resume building.
A number of businesses attended the camp on day two to pitch existing or future jobs and mentoring or work experience opportunities to players as part of the ‘careers expo.’
Cloke, who has recently began coaching roles with Collingwood’s next generation academy and AFL Victoria’s Under 18 Metro Academy, described the camp as an “eye opener” and an opportunity to learn some practical skills to assist with establishing his next career.
“Speaking to the people at TwoPointZero was fantastic. Understanding the importance of our connections and online footprint was really valuable for someone at the age of 31 who wants to upskill and get back into the workforce,” Cloke said.
Former Docker Spurr, who completed a double degree in commerce and law during his football career, says the camp was effective in educating players on the diverse skill set AFL footballers walk away with.
“The packages here validated that the skills I have from football, like working in a team, are valued and companies want to bring in the people who include and work together to achieve,” he said.
“As a transitioning player, it gives me a lot of confidence that I can relate my skills from football across to a new industry and a new chosen career.”
Research conducted by the AFL Players’ Association suggests that more than a third of AFL players report some difficulty with their transition into retirement — mainly due to the loss of football routine and structure, difficulty securing employment and general uncertainty.
AFL Players’ Association Head of Alumni Brad Fisher said the two-day camp aimed to ease the transition phase for those leaving the AFL system, which is a focus area for the industry.
“Leaving the game can be a difficult and uncertain period for AFL players, particularly when they’ve spent their entire lives working towards being an AFL footballer,” Fisher said.
“This event allows us to help upskill and provide networking, mentoring and potential employment opportunities for past players and those who have recently left the game.”
“It’s been really valuable to partner with some organisations with a shared goal of providing professional guidance and support to players looking for their next opportunity.”
TwoPointZero worked with the attendees to build or identify their post-football passions and provide them with the tools and insights they need to pursue a fulfilling professional life.
AFL SportsReady presented to the players on the various study option available to current and past players, including the Next Goal program and certificates in player development, coaching, recruiting, list management and AFL administration.
The AFLPA’s yoga and mindfulness partner, Lululemon, ran a vision and goal setting session, while higher education partner La Trobe University presented the study options available to players.
Businesses with employment, mentoring or work experience opportunities for former AFL players should make contact with the AFLPA Alumni team via firstname.lastname@example.org.