The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team already have remarkable skills on the football field — now they’re learning valuable skills for life at TAFE Queensland.
The PNG Hunters are currently based on the Gold Coast while competing in Queensland Rugby League’s Intrust Super Cup, a second tier of rugby league in Australia.
For six weeks they will spend Tuesdays and Thursdays at TAFE Queensland’s Ashmore and Southport campuses learning business and trade skills.
TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said the trade portion of the program is customised to reflect the materials and architecture traditionally found in PNG.
“With more than 80 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s population living in rural areas and earning a living from subsistence agriculture, our trade teachers have tailored the modules to ensure the team are learning skills sufficient for life in PNG,” said Ms Dickinson.
“They will be using materials such as timber, bamboo, wire mesh, bricks and recycled tyres to learn how to build retaining walls, planting areas, gates, fences, doors, tables as well as houses on stilts and much more,” she said.
“Then in week six they will acquire basic skills in welding and engineering.”
Meanwhile at the Southport campus players will be developing skills in digital literacy, budgeting, public speaking and time management among other things.
The Hunter’s winger, Solo Wane said he is enjoying the challenge and is embracing the learning opportunity.
“When our football careers are up and we have to go back home it will be good to have these skills to fall back on,” said Mr Wane.
“I have never done anything like this before and I am finding the training and education useful on a number of levels.”
The teams Wellbeing and Education Manager, Nellie Pabulu said these acquired skills will benefit all 28 players and their families both personally and economically.
“The program with TAFE Queensland means that each athlete returns to PNG as skilled citizens, these non-accredited courses will create a pathway to venture into desired accredited courses in Australia and PNG,” said Ms Pabulu.
“It gives them the opportunity for further professional training, secure employment and financial security after professional football.”
Ms Pabulu said the training opportunity is an incredible opportunity for these young aspiring athletes to be productive in life off the field.
“These opportunities were made possible by not only TAFE Queensland, but also the support provided by Queensland Rugby League in partnership with the Australian Government through their PNGAus Partnerships and PacificAus Sports programs,” she said.