Beau uses Fee-Free TAFE funding to kick off his sporting career

“I started playing in early primary school through an Auskick program, which saw me joining a local AFL club, and since then, I’ve always played AFL,” explained Beau.

Following his passion for playing, Beau played club AFL in Toowoomba and Brisbane and after graduating from Centenary Heights State High School in 2023, he contacted the Gold Coast Suns about joining their Gold Coast College of Sport and Business program to make his passion his profession.

Delivered in partnership between the Gold Coast SUNS Football Club and TAFE Queensland’s Academy of Sport, Beau is learning within the four walls of the elite AFL clubs’ world-class facilities at People First Stadium and the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre.

Having previously studied with TAFE at Schools, Beau knew that TAFE’s teachers would support, mentor, and guide him in a flexible environment – giving him the confidence to enrol.

His Diploma of Sport/Diploma of Leadership and Management (SIS50321/BSB50420) studies are enhanced thanks to his class’s connection with sports industry experts, staff, players, and coaches from the Gold Coast SUNS.

Beau uses Fee-Free TAFE funding to kick off his sporting career as part of the Queensland Government’s Good People. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032.

It aims to connect, educate, and attract the people needed to meet the state’s workforce demand in existing and new industry sectors and support continued economic growth.

With approximately 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education and training places available in 2024, the program will support Queenslanders to skill up to meet the state’s current and future workforce needs by enabling them to complete selected qualifications at no or low cost.

Training for 12 months in an immersive and condensed learning environment, Beau and his class have access to professionals from various departments of the Gold Coast SUNS and participate in 100 hours of work-integrated learning across game day activations.

“I still live in Toowoomba and commute to the Gold Coast for the course. There’s nothing better than coming to a world-class facility and learning in this environment. I’m thriving being around and connecting with like-minded people.”

A proud Indigenous man connected to the Muruwari, Kullili and Kooma tribes, Beau is open to blending cultural insights into his coaching to help Indigenous players maximise their potential in the sport.

Beau’s classes are over two days, with one day being assessments and learning coaching content and the second day being outside, putting that theory into practice with professional coaches and teachers.

“My skills and confidence have improved dramatically. I’m even coaching at a community level in Toowoomba with the Under 14s University Cougars in the Darling Downs AFL.”

“I use the coaching skills I learned in my course to help kids enjoy training and winning games and build a social network with the families and the community through coaching. I love seeing the players I’m coaching grow and improve,” he said.

Beau credits his teachers for helping him build his skills while ensuring that they support his coaching by travelling to Toowoomba to participate and provide feedback.

“Bianca and Martin have been supportive and considerate because I live over two hours away. They ensured that I would not overload myself, and they’ve supported my coaching by coming to Toowoomba to watch me coach and give me feedback,” says Beau.

“The learning atmosphere in the classroom is great, too, and my classmates are always there to give me help, and I’m thankful for that.”

Coming from Toowoomba to study in the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre has also enhanced Beau’s learning, with the immersive and professional environment providing the perfect arena for his development.

“The facilities and the way people conduct themselves here are so professional, and it feels like I’m part of a small community – we don’t have anything like this in Toowoomba.”

“Coming here from a small town and having this facility as your classroom, being around professional players and the team behind the team and using the same practice fields is full-on and fun; it’s awesome, and I love it here,” he continued.

Beau is thrilled to be studying with the Gold Coast College of Sport and Business under the guidance of TAFE Queensland’s teachers. He is thriving in the elite sporting environment as he studies towards his dream career in athlete development.

“Sport is a sustainable industry; technology cannot do what coaches do. If you’re a sports lover, get into the industry through the Gold Coast College of Sport and Business and follow your dreams.”

“People are built for learning; we learn from each other, from teachers, and experiences. I’ll be a lifelong learner because, in coaching, there are always new things I’ll need to know. So, whenever I can, I’ll study, and this is just the start of my journey,” concluded Beau.

(Re-published from TAFE Queensland)