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School To Work Program

What is the School to Work Program?

The School To Work Program (S2W) is an education and employment program that utilises the positive profile of the game of Rugby League to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to stay at school, get a job, and be a legend for themselves, their families and their communities.

A combined initiative of the Canberra Raiders, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, St George Illawarra Dragons, Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers, the Australian Government’s Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the National Rugby League; S2W provides young Indigenous Australians with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities to ensure they successfully complete school and transition into further study, training or meaningful employment.

The S2W Program is backed by an exceptional team of NRL players, staff, community, government and business supporters.

Why was the School to Work Program formed?

In 2012 the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, and Wests Tigers NRL Clubs joined forces to deliver the S2W Program to address the Australian Government’s key ‘Closing the Gap’ targets for Indigenous students in Western Sydney. They are:

  • To halve the gap for Indigenous students in year 12 equivalent attainment by 2020; and
  • To halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Supported by community leaders, the Rugby League family and everyday ‘local legends’ who young Indigenous Australians respect and aspire to be like, the S2W program advocates the importance of education, training and employment for success.

In 2015 the School to Work Program was expanded and joined by the Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters.

How does the School to Work Program work?

Selected year 10, 11 and 12 students from participating schools conduct a one-on-one profiling session with their Project Officer to build Career Development Plans focussed on career aspirations and personal goals.

Students work with their Project officers to pursue these plans by participating in educational, cultural and leadership workshops. They also visit club sponsors, partner organisations and other government and corporate supporters of S2W to undertake work experience and job-readiness training.

Graduating students are equipped to make informed choices about their future careers, are armed with exceptional leadership capabilities and have a solid foundation in ‘job readiness’ skills.

To help guide students through a smooth transition to life after school, the S2W Program continues for six months after they graduate, with close mentoring of their progress on a structured ‘post-school’ plan.

Why get involved in the School to Work Program?

  • To fulfil your company’s corporate and social responsibility agenda by taking a leading role in closing the economic and social gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
  • To achieve access to a talent pool of high-calibre, Indigenous job seekers who have developed their capabilities and possess leadership and networking experience
  • To play a meaningful part in the journeys of local Indigenous students as they transition from school to adult life
  • To network with S2W Ambassadors, National Rugby League executives and like-minded corporates at events to support a greater common cause.

How can I get involved in the School to Work Program?

Your involvement is limited only to your imagination. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Incorporate support for the S2W Program in your company’s Reconciliation Action Plan for corporate and social responsibility and recruitment and employment strategies.
  • Open your business to students by providing work experience opportunities – it’s a great way to showcase your organisation as a positive place to work and an employer of choice
  • Promote your passion for the program to colleagues, customers and other networks via your collateral, advertising, and functions
  • Co-sponsor a S2W event
  • Provide employment opportunities for S2W graduates and share their success
  • Any other way in which you think your business can get involved to be part of the success of S2W students.



To discuss opportunities for your business to partner with us, please find contact details below:

Kristian Heffernan
S2W Program Manager