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Hunter TAFE, the Aboriginal Learning Circle and the Newcastle Knights today announced the details of a collaborative project that will empower Indigenous young people to pursue education as part of their future.

More than 160 indigenous students in years 10 to 12 from the Hunter region attended the launch of the Deadly Skills project at Hunter TAFE's Newcastle campus today.

Deadly Skills - It's your future Claim it, was launched to coincide with the NRL Indigenous Round and as part of the lead-up to 2015 National Skills Week.

Newcastle Knights CEO, Matt Gidley, said that this type of partnership was a critical to the Knights' commitment to supporting the NRL’s “Game Plan” strategy as well as the Club's promise to respectful recognition of Aboriginal culture as part of our wider community.

“While the Indigenous Round is an important event in our annual calendar, for the Knights recognition is much more about a longer term approach of the entire Club and our stakeholders," Gidley said.

"Working with TAFE and the Learning Circle provides us with a holistic approach to achieving a better understanding of Aboriginal culture while engaging young indigenous people into important educational and sporting pathways."

Hunter TAFE Deputy CEO, Marie Larkings, welcomed the project as part of the Institute's ongoing commitment to recognition, respect and empowering Aboriginal and Indigenous people to engage with education.

"This partnership aims to provide young people with better ways to connect with education. There are so many options for young people and our job is to make it easier for them and we hope by working with the Knights and the Learning Circle annually we will empower young people to pursue their dreams," Ms Larkings said.

The launch included Q&A discussion with past and present Knights players, Aboriginal art, dance and culture workshops and TAFE information.

Newcastle Knight Tyrone Roberts was proud to be a part of the event which offered players the chance to interact with the impressionable young students. 

"They asked me to come and tell my story and part of my story was big on education," Roberts said. 

Roberts moved from Ballina, home to the Bundjalung Nations, where he grew up as a young high school student to pursue greater opprotunities in Newcastle.

"When I moved when I was 14, I didn’t only come here for football, I came here for education," he said. 

Not only he dedicate his efforts to becoming as skilful and strong as he could be on the football field, he maintained his goal to gain an education. 

“I wanted to be the first person in my family to go to year 12 and sporting came second," Roberts added.

"I didn’t miss a day of school.

“I wasn’t allowed to miss a day of school or an assignment and that taught us discipline.

“I was educated at Hunter Sports High in year 12 and I am here now only because I had a supportive background and Indigenous culture."

Roberts believes the key to change lies in the ability of Indigenous Australian's to teach others about their culture and rich heritage. 

“We need to put education first and learn about where we come from and who we are and then teach other people," he said.

“That’s why education is a bit part of our culture.

"I’m proud to be a role model because I’ve been through the sacrifices that I’ve had to make.

"It is tough at a young age and the stuff we have to deal with, but we want to recognised as a culture and recognised by everyone in Australia for our culture." 

RECOGNISE, which the NRL partnered with last year, is the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples in the Constitution and deal with the discrimination in it.

The Newcastle Knights is pleased to announce the ‘RECOGNISE’ logo will don the chest-plate position on the front of the jersey for Indigenous Round.