South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA) students will now have the opportunity to take part in the world game while completing their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).
The Marshall Liberal Government has committed an additional $100,000 over two years to establish the SAASTA Aboriginal Football Academy, the state’s very first soccer academy for Aboriginal students in Year 10, 11 and 12.
It will follow the format of other SAASTA specialist learning academies with a focus on SACE and VET learning complemented by practical skill development in the specialised areas such as sport, hospitality, community services and science.
Former Adelaide United Football Club captain Travis Dodd has been named ambassador for the academy, and SAASTA old scholar and Adelaide United W-League player Evelyn Goldsmith will act as a mentor for the students.
The academy will run every Thursday from February next year.
Premier Steven Marshall said this was a new and exciting opportunity for Aboriginal students.
“We are focused on ensuring that all Aboriginal children and young people have the opportunity to become successful learners and excel in life,” said Premier Marshall.
“This new academy is a very exciting opportunity and will create another avenue for Aboriginal students to join the SAASTA program and achieve their higher education goals.
“In addition to achieving their SACE, students in this academy will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a globally recognised sport, potentially opening the door to local or even worldwide opportunities.”
Education Minister John Gardner said the establishment of the new academy would build on the outcomes that SAASTA is already achieving.
“The expansion of SAASTA academies enables more Aboriginal students to be engaged,” said Minister Gardner.
“This goes into our efforts towards seeing higher SACE completion rates amongst Aboriginal students and the development of future Aboriginal leaders in South Australia.
“Supporting and enhancing the work being done by SAASTA is a key part of the Government’s Aboriginal Education Strategy, launched late last year, which aims to support each Aboriginal child and young person to be proud and confident learners achieving their highest potential.”
Former Adelaide United captain Travis Dodd said he hoped to see students succeed as they go through the program.
“The Aboriginal Football Academy, run in partnership with SAASTA and Metrostars, is a great step in the right direction towards providing a real pathway for indigenous players to develop in the game,” said Mr Dodd.
“To be the program ambassador and support in its development for the foundation year is a great privilege – my hope is to see players flourish in the program and I would ultimately love to see future Adelaide United players, Socceroos and Matildas come through the program.
“Whilst the football aspect is the hook for the program, the AFA will also allow students to further themselves by providing chances to learn about their culture, undertake units towards completing their SACE certificate, develop leadership skills and learn about other game development areas such as refereeing and coaching.”