The Gold Coast SUNS have joined forces with TAFE Queensland to provide students with a direct pathway to pursue a fulfilling career in the sports industry.

In an exciting new partnership, the two organisations have established the Gold Coast College of Sport and Business as a hub for aspiring sport administrators and leaders.

TAFE Queensland will introduce the Dual Diploma Program, which includes the Diploma of Sport and Diploma of Leadership and Management, offering aspiring individuals a unique integrated opportunity to pursue their dreams alongside the Gold Coast SUNS.

Through a year-long dual diploma program, students will have the extraordinary opportunity to receive hands-on training by immersing themselves in the daily operations of the Gold Coast SUNS.

This invaluable experience will provide unmatched insights into the inner workings of an elite AFL club and the Gold Coast’s leading sporting brand.

Gold Coast SUNS General Manager of Consumer, Community and Marketing Jane McGough said the Gold Coast SUNS are delighted to partner with TAFE Queensland to launch the Gold Coast’s first fully integrated education and sports industry program.

“At the SUNS, we are committed to making a genuine impact in our community and have had success in the field of education with our school-based programs such as ‘Play to Your Strengths’ and ‘SUNS Fitness’ in Queensland and Northern NSW schools,” McGough said.

“By partnering with TAFE Queensland, we can now extend our reach beyond primary and secondary students to tertiary education, and offer this unique opportunity that will take place at the club’s world-class facilities at Heritage Bank Stadium and the Carrara Sports Precinct, allowing students to learn within the four walls of an elite AFL club.

“We feel we can add tremendous value to the community through this program, offering unparalleled insights and access to our organisation through work-integrated learning, connecting to industry experts and engaging with staff, players and coaches from the club to enable students to learn about best practice in sports management.

“We hope by opening our doors to the next generation of sports administrators, we will be able to foster a deeper understanding and connection to the Gold Coast SUNS and the sports industry on the Gold Coast and see some of these students graduate into employees of the club.”

Students will complete 100 hours of work experience across various departments of the club, including fan and community engagement, membership operations, marketing and media communications, events and game day, clinics, game development and more.

Initially capped at 30 students, the first intake will commence in January 2024, embarking on a year-long journey divided into three trimesters.

Upon successfully completing the curriculum, students in the program have the potential to be considered for graduate roles, opening up exciting career prospects within the Gold Coast SUNS organisation.

Furthermore, the program does articulate pathways into various university programs, including Bachelor of Sport Development, Bachelor of Sport Management, and Bachelor of Business, providing students with the opportunity to further their education and pursue specialised degrees in the sports industry.

TAFE Queensland General Manager of Operations Nik Babovic said the training partnership is a game-changer for people passionate about AFL and who are looking to kick-start a career in elite sport.

“Training will be contextualised to support the specific skills required to be successful working in elite sport and will give students valuable insights into the broader business of AFL as they develop skills in sport, leadership and management,” Mr Babovic said.

"TAFE Queensland works best when we are working hand-in-hand with industry and we are proud to be able to play such an important role in providing the SUNS with a pipeline of skilled workers long into the future," he said.

TAFE Queensland Manager of Academy of Sport Partnerships Jesse O’Hara said the training partnership is fully integrated with the sports industry and is ideal for students pursuing a career in sport.

“Not only are the students based at an elite sports facility, the course is fully contextualised and delivered by professional educators with guest speakers from the Gold Coast SUNS and other industry partners,” O’Hara said.

“The dual diploma course will prepare students with the skills and knowledge to manage people, build relationships, networks and teams in sport and become a better leader.

“Students will regularly hear from industry experts as they cover different topics throughout the program, bringing the educational content to life.

“Students will have access to 100 hours of hands-on, work integrated learning within the four walls of a professional sporting organisation.

“Students will get a practical understanding of the many roles within the professional sports industry, including; behind the scenes match day experiences, front and back office operations, game development and community engagement.”

For more information, you can sign up to attend an Open Day on Saturday July 29 from 2:30-3:30pm at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.

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