Recently retired and delisted AFL players came together at Yarra Valley Lodge on Monday and Tuesday to take part in the third annual AFL Players’ Association Transition Camp.
The AFLPA AFL SportsReady Transition Camp, presented by career consulting firm TwoPointZero and AIA Vitality, provides former players with the opportunity to build on the personal and career development insights they uncovered during their playing years.
David Armitage, Tom Boyd, Dylan Buckley, Billy Stretch and Michael Rischitelli 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.’
Former Collingwood and West Coast player Josh Smith said the camp provided the opportunity to upskill and network for the next stage of life.
Smith, who played 34 games across his four-year career, said the transition period was a daunting time but it was made easier having the support of the AFL Players’ Association.
“It’s been really great having people help us start conversations and opening their arms to support us in the next phase of our lives,” he told aflplayers.com.au at the Camp.
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.
“For many players, leaving the game can be a difficult and uncertain period, particularly when they’ve spent their entire lives working towards being an AFL footballer,” Fisher told aflplayers.com.au.
“The Transition Camp is designed to help us 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.
TwoPointZero introduced their new Thrive tool which will help players beginning the job search process, including support with resume building.
AFL SportsReady presented to the players on the various study options 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 AIA Group presented at the careers expo.
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.