Workplay: Creating opportunities for the trajectory of a traditional athlete 

By Staff Writer 

AFL Connect is a dynamic networking program, curating different formats of exciting shared experiences to enhance connections amongst members and broader partners, including Workplay, who are a new AFL Connect member. 

Recently, AFL Connect held two major executive level events, structured towards delivering unique, engaging and exclusive content for corporate partners; with Workplay presenting their vision towards positively challenging the trajectory of a traditional athlete through connection to education and employment pathways. These events also highlighted how our corporate partners can engage and participate with the program. 

At the Gather Round Partnerships Conference in Adelaide, Laura Kane, Executive General Manager of Football, spoke to the importance of Workplay and flexible working opportunities.

“It provides athletes a different focus and ability to have lifelong careers beyond the game,” Laura said.

Laura emphasised the importance of Workplay, powered by John Holland, as a platform and the opportunities it presents. “We want our athletes to have long, fruitful careers even after they transition from playing or umpiring football,” she said.

Also at AFL Connect events in Adelaide, Ruby Schleicher, a foundation player and Vice Captain of Collingwood AFLW as well as a Fox Footy Reporter, noted the importance of Workplay in creating career progression opportunities for athletes.

“It’s been incredible, I’ve been with Fox Sports for two years now. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity with Fox if it wasn’t for initiatives like Workplay through AFLW… it basically just supports AFLW athletes and is now extending to umpires and VFLW athletes to help work and play football at the same time at the highest level you can. If it wasn’t for that, I’d highly doubt I’d be in the position I’m in.”

This was further reflected by Meghan McDonald, Captain of the Geelong Cats AFLW team at the first AFL Connect event for 2024 hosted by Virgin Voyages.

Looking at the model of Workplay to facilitate athletes being their best selves on and off the field, Meghan said “[As players], we’re trying to do both – we’re so deeply aware and appreciative of employers giving us the flexibility to do this.”

“The world is moving towards more flexible workplaces and Workplay supports this. If a workplace is able to empower an athlete to be the best version of themselves and the best athlete they can be, that’s only going to go back the other way where they’re satisfied at work and increasingly productive.”

Across the spectrum of the league, the want and need for AFL/AFLW valued corporate partners to be involved in Workplay is welcomed. The opportunities that are provided not only for the athletes, but for organisations is immeasurable and creates more than one pathway, for athletes now and in the future. 

Share with:

Related articles