Emerging Newcastle Knights players have now found a place to train and learn at Hunter TAFE.
As part of the Newcastle Knights and Hunter TAFE working partnership, Hunter TAFE has established a High Performance Sports Hub at its Newcastle campus in Tighes Hill.
The unique partnership and facility was launched at a gala event at the TAFE campus on Thursday and was attended by a wide range of community members including Newcastle Knights representatives and players, TAFE staff as well as representatives from the NRL.
Hunter TAFE CEO, Phil Cox said that TAFE had created a dedicated home for the Newcastle Knights National Youth Cup team (16 to 20 year olds), which included a specialist education centre, training oval, study hub and lecture theatre.
In July last year, the Knights signed an agreement with Hunter TAFE to develop an ongoing program to find better ways for their players to access training while managing professional football commitments.
Newcastle Knights CEO, Matt Gidley, said that the Hunter TAFE High Performance Sports Hub was also a critical element to the Knights commitment to supporting the NRL’s 'Game Plan' strategy which aims to engage 84 per cent of players in education or career training by 2017.
“The NRL implementation of “no work, no study, no play” is a fantastic initiative, which encourages the players to consider career development and options,” he said.
“For the Knights, our starting point is to provide the players with avenues such as Hunter TAFE, where they can develop a broad base of skills, embark on career transition programs and actively participate in the community.”
Mr Cox added that Hunter TAFE had worked closely with the Knights to develop the High Performance Sports Hub to provide the right outcomes for players, the Knights and the NRL.
“Hunter TAFE has worked with the Knights’ education and welfare team to identify required career areas and support services,” he said.
"We identified that players needed to access study options such as tutorial support, one-on-one sessions and the ability to drop into flexible learning environments rather than adhering to a rigid timetable.
“One of the solutions was to locate the study and amenities close to the Hunter TAFE Number 1 field and associated lecture and tutorial rooms at the Newcastle campus.”
National Youth Cup players have commenced their training at Hunter TAFE this year in programs including Trade, Fitness, Business Management and Media Foundation skills.