Eels take studies into their stride

Parramatta Eels player Brad Takairangi and recent retiree and former Eels Frank Pritchard have graduated a Diploma of Youth Work at TAFE NSW Mt Druitt, and are ready to give back to the community.

Over the last 18 months, Brad and Frank worked tirelessly with TAFE NSW Community Services Teachers Ivanka Bastac and David Nash to fit their studies around a rigorous training schedule, game days and other commitments.

Retiring from the Parramatta Eels late last year, Frank is already putting the skills he learnt at TAFE NSW into practice, working with the Clontarf Foundation to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

“I’m currently working full time at Airds High School in Campbelltown, supporting a group of young Aboriginal men to stay in school, further their education and work towards having the best possible future.”

Living proof that your situation does not define you, Frank is passionate about being the best role model that he can be.

“I was brought up in a less fortunate area and now that I’m in a position where I have the ability to give back to the community and positively influence young people, that’s exactly what I want to do.

“I want to be able to show people that I was in their position when I was younger and look where I am now. There’s no excuses, you can achieve anything you want to, regardless of your situation.”

With no plans on the horizon to retire from the NRL, Brad said, “I plan to use the skills I’ve learnt from the Diploma of Youth Work and Certificate IV in Youth Work to help me with the programs the Parramatta Eels run in schools. These clinics are what made me want to study youth work as it’s something I could see myself doing in the future.”

Self-reflecting on an amazing achievement, Brad explained, “I’m so happy to have completed the Diploma of Youth Work while still playing fulltime for the Parramatta Eels. Ivanka and the team at TAFE NSW were a massive help, working around my busy schedule and always providing the support and tutoring that I needed.”

A proud Frank said, “It’s absolutely unreal that someone like me is able to complete a course at TAFE NSW. I could not have done it without passionate teachers like Ivanka and David supporting me every step of the way.”

Parramatta Eels Club Wellbeing & Education Manager Dean Feeney said, “It has always been a priority for our Club to ensure that players have a plan outside of playing football. We want to give them opportunities to create a career path when football is no longer an option, and TAFE NSW has allowed many elite players to do that.”