How rugby is reshaping the future for Queensland’s Indigenous youth

Guest blog – Dave Adler, CEO of Smartleasing and Smartfleet.

One of the attractions of becoming an official sponsor of the Queensland Reds and partner of the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) in 2017, is their support of communities right across Queensland and, in particular, the focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Too often, Rugby Union is dismissed as an elite sport for private schools. But take a deeper look, and you’ll find so much more. QRU’s relationships at the grassroots level are remarkable, both in the playing of the sport itself and the education of Queensland’s Indigenous youth which, in turn, supports the development of future leaders.

On 30 May, during National Reconciliation Week, I had the opportunity to attend QRU’s launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).  It was wonderful to hear from successful young Indigenous leaders who have gained so much from QRU’s Indigenous programs.

The Reds Generation Next program (RGN) launched in 2012, and since inception, over 260 participants have benefitted from mentoring provided by specialist staff. Through relationships built and opportunities provided, RGN has delivered outcomes that compare most favourably with similar programs run by Education Queensland.

Since 2012, RGN has achieved

  • 99% year 12 graduation
  • 92% successful transition to employment or further education

I was also delighted to see a couple of Defence members representing Indigenous Australia, and meet Australian Wallaroos prop, Caroline Fairs (pictured below on the right). Caroline has represented Australia in eight tests and is lining up against England, New Zealand and Canada for the 2017 International Women’s Rugby Seizes in New Zealand in June.

Congratulations to the QRU for its efforts. Most importantly, congratulations to all the participants who are reaching new heights as a result of their commitment to complete the Reds Generation Next programs.

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Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer
Smartgroup

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