Hawthorn players Dan Howe and Harry Jones are strong advocates for the work experience program the club ran last week.
In a club-first program, the Hawks players had to juggle their regular work commitments around pre-season training as the club looked to broaden the players’ networks of connection and support and put them outside their comfort zone to provide greater perspective on what life outside of the AFL bubble can look like.
Every player participated in the program across the week, with their weights sessions and team-based training sessions having to be navigated around a ‘regular work day’.
Howe worked as a barista at Templestowe’s Miss Kneady Cafe and spent one day at Golf Australia, while Jones spent his week at STREAT – a company dedicated to promoting sustainability and decreasing youth homelessness.
Howe spent his week making coffees, clearing tables and serving customers in the cafe.
“Having a week like that really gives you clarity,” Howe said.
“I enjoyed the hospitality part of the week, so that’s something I’ll probably look towards in the future.
“I might even look to own a café or something like that.”
For the rookie-listed Jones, spending a week at STREAT offered encouragement that a career in the sustainability field could, well, be stable.
Jones was part of the ‘Green Team’ and had the chance to meet a lot of different people and take their advice on board.
“I’ve always been interested in that kind of thing and it was probably the perfect time for me to go on work placement because in the past I’ve been told that it’s difficult to get a job in that industry,” Jones said.
“But going in there, a lot of the people I worked with showed me the jobs that they do and they showed me some stats of how jobs are going to be increasing in that particular industry and it gave me more confidence that that’s an area worth pursuing.”
Dan Howe making coffees in his job as a barista
Jones, who has started a business course, said he was keen to pursue a university degree in the sustainability field.
“I took some notes in a little notebook after my conversations with the people in the business and I’ve got some really good options now,” Jones said
“I could probably pick out of about six courses now, whereas previously I didn’t really think I had any
“It just showed me that there’s a future working in that area and it’s more achievable than I thought.”
Hawks players typically hit the gym around 6.30-7.30am prior to work, completed their day of work experience and then return to Waverley Park for skills-based training sessions from 5.30-9pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of their working week.
Howe said it was all about managing your schedule effectively to ensure you were well prepared to train.
“I didn’t find it too tough, but then again I was only doing it for a week.
“It was only a week for us, but most most people have to do that for 52 weeks of the year so it definitely gives you a fair amount of perspective.”
Chad Wingard spent his week mentoring indigenous young people at Worawa Aboriginal College; Isaac Smith upped his breakfast radio commitments with RSN927; James Worpel worked in youth justice; James Frawley worked at real estate firm Kay and Burton and captain Ben Stratton was at fashion label HoMie apparel.
“It provided me with a different perspective and in a way it helps your footy because you’ve not 100 per cent focused on that day in day out,” Howe said.
“It’s something I’d really recommend to other clubs if they looked at doing it as well.”