Revolutionary new partnership provides sports focused young people with credit towards bachelor’s degree

ACPE

In a landmark partnership between Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE), Football Coaches Australia (FCA) and XVenture, young people can now access and gain a credit towards a selection of ACPE Undergraduate Bachelors’ Degrees with the completion of a unique and immersive new virtual reality based program.

The FCA XV Essential Skills Program is made up of five modules covering Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Communication, Culture and Resilience. The program is delivered in a self-paced online-based virtual world campus, with over 100 subjects brought to life as videos, podcasts, articles, websites and interactive e-books. The modules cover universal themes and seamlessly integrate classic and contemporary models and thinking with each subject coloured with examples and cases from football, sport and business globally.

Successful completion of the FCA/ XVenture College Essential Skills Program will provide future ACPE students for specific credit of:

(1) an ACPE (Professional Communication) unit, within their Bachelor of Sports Coaching (Management),  Bachelor of Sports Coaching (Strength and Conditioning), or Bachelor of Health Promotion courses

(2) an ACPE (Leadership in Sports Business) unit within their Bachelor of Sports Business (Leadership)course.

Under the partnership (articulation) agreement, students who complete the FCAXV Essential Skills program are eligible for consideration into the outlined ACPE courses.

The program was created by XVenture Founder and CEO Mike Conway. XVenture are experts and innovators in the team, leadership and personal development space. Mike’s clinical training and expertise in all areas of emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership have seen him take the role of emotional agility and mind coach for a number of elite sporting athletes and teams. Most recently Mike worked with the Australian National Football team, Sydney FC, Perth Glory, WBBL Sixers, WBBL Thunder and Olympians. In the FCA XV Essential Skills Program, Mike also draws on his current and past experience as a leader and advisor for organisations such as EY, Deloitte, Standards Australia and The Wiggles.

This new arrangement is an extension of FCA’s partnership with ACPE which also provides internship opportunities for ACPE students to fulfil their ‘Work Integrated Learning’ requirements.

ACPE CEO, Debbie Le Roux stated: “This exciting partnership between like-minded organisations aligns with our strategic aspirations to have an impact on the social and educational wellbeing of the sporting community and to provide appropriate pathways into higher education for coaches, athletes, administrators and anyone who has a passion for sport and learning.  ACPE is home to many who are passionate about sport and who are at different stages of life or learning.  We are thrilled to be partnered with FCA and XVenture to facilitate an industry relevant, contemporary and high-quality pathway into higher education.”

Glenn Warry, CEO, Football Coaches Australia stated: “… A key strategy of FCA is to implement world leading benchmarks, programs and partnerships to enhance the best practice and high-performance capabilities of current and future Australian coaches. FCA is proud to partner with ACPE in supporting young students in this challenging world with learning environments and FCA XVenture ‘essential’ skills’ highly relevant to modern coaching. Aligning and integrating Australian football coach education and tertiary education pathways for coaches, players, administrators and other sport professionals, makes total sense.”

XVenture Founder and CEO, Mike Conway stated: “Having the opportunity to partner with an educational institution who is committed to providing young people with access to contemporary learning through collaboration [with industry] is a breath of fresh air. My team and I are passionate about developing accelerated experiential learning programs and utilizing the best and latest in technology to deliver these essential skills, which until recently have been seen as ‘soft’. In an ever-changing world, these skills are more critical than ever.”

About – ACPE, Football Coaches Australia and XVenture

Australian College of Physical Education

The Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE) is a leading provider of specialist bachelor degrees and graduate diplomas in the related disciplines of sport, applied fitness, health science, community health, business, physical education and dance. Established in 1917, ACPE aims to connect motivated and well-equipped students with fulfilling careers in their chosen field. ACPE aspires to maintain an impeccable reputation as a knowledge hub that serves the industry and broader community through scholarly activity, innovation and education.  Recognised as an Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) by Sport Australia, ACPE is proud to support student athletes who strive for academic and sporting excellence – we provide the highest level of service to elite athletes.

Football Coaches Australia

For Coaches, By Coaches … promoting and strengthening the reputation of football in Australia, and the reputation of Australian football on the world stage. Founded in November, 2017 as an association, FCA provides a collective voice for Australian professional and community football coaches.

FCA aims to provide a holistic support model for coaches, with key pillars of Advocacy, Professional Development, Wellbeing and Gender Equity and Diversity.

XVenture

Founded by Mike Conway, XVenture are experts and innovators in the team, leadership and personal development space, with a track record that has taken them around the globe. They create and deliver accelerated experiential learning, recruitment and onboarding solutions combining cutting edge technology (including virtual reality), with learning and leadership expertise.

Assessing the path of A-League Women to become full-time

To ensure there is a deep-rooted legacy from the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the A-League Women becoming a full-time profession should be a matter of importance to develop the Australian game.

As the competition improves, the expectations on individual players increases, whereas the careers provided to them are not yet adequate for most players to financially support themselves merely through football.

Until the players are provided with full-time year-round employment structure, majority of the sportswomen are in the firing line juggling the physical and mental aspects of their commitments to football and part-time employment, of which three in five of those players work outside of football.

This topic of discussion was raised back in February during a two-day women’s football congress that was hosted by the players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).

Under the 2021-2026 A-Leagues Collective Bargaining Agreement, the base limit was $20,608 in 2022-23 season for a 29-week contract for the ALW, with most of the players earned at or close to the minimum that season.

However, the remuneration for the past season rose to $25,000, which for the very first time it was transformed to a full home-and-away schedule, the current athletes are under contract for a 22 round regular season for 35 weeks, along with four extra weeks for finals.

Former Matilda and PFA executive member Elise Kellond-Knight expressed her opinion on this matter.

“We need aspirational leaders. We don’t need a long-term, 10-year strategy to get to full-time professionalism. Like, this is 2024. We need it tomorrow. We needed it yesterday,” she said.

“It’s important that the girls understand where we’ve come from and how much hard work we’ve had to do. Things don’t get handed to female athletes you have to stand up, you have to ask for it, you have to fight for it.

“It’s really important that we embed that philosophy in the next generation to come.”

In contrast to the A-League Men, just 15 percent had some type of job outside of their football commitments, 93 percent of those individuals worked less than 10 hours on a weekly basis.

The survey comments portray an evocative of the not so sustainable football/work/life balance the individuals have to commit to:

“I don’t want to feel like I have to work between seasons (for example: most of us do not get paid in the off season). It is a lot to juggle, especially going away for national team camps and the immense amount of traveling. I feel this weight on my shoulders from my work obligations.”

“If my work and football commitments clash, I am expected by my coach to skip work (where I get paid more and am respected more), and I am expected by my boss to skip soccer, and neither care if you suffer financially or reputation wise for it.”

According to the survey, it was made aware that all but three clubs had failed to provide players the desired two-month in advance training calendar as well as the seven day notice period, which makes matters even more complicated for those coping with various jobs to plan in advance.

The PFA admit changes such as this won’t occur overnight, generally speaking, to implement full-time professional contracts is the righteous thing to do for women players, but as the PFA report put it “should also be seen as an investment, not a cost.”

The full-time pay is such a significant goal for women’s football in this country, but the clubs can ease their path to that goal and can do a whole lot more to make sure those changes are modified sooner rather than later.

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

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