Cathy Freeman (centre) was on hand to launch the AIEF/AFL scholarship program during the 2011 KickStart at Southport Sharks AFC, Gold Coast

Partnership Provides Scholarships for Indigenous Players

Monday, September 12, 2011

The AFL recently announced a partnership with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) to provide scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NSW and QLD who are interested in playing AFL at a higher level and achieving their very best academic education level possible.

The AIEF/AFL scholarships program is a joint funding partnership with the AFL and AIEF that aims to attract and support a minimum 20 young Indigenous men in financial need each year.

Students accepted into the program will be supported with boarding school placement as well as participation in an AFL talent development program.

Nominations for the scholarships are open to young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander men, aged from 12 to 17 years, who are in financial need, receiving ABSTUDY and who are already playing or who wish to pursue an AFL career.  For information, contact Mark Browning on 07 3033 5400 or visit

Launching the partnership during the AFL KickStart Under 15 Championships held in September on the Gold Coast, were AFL National Community Engagement Manager Jason Mifsud and Talent Academies Manager Mark Browning, along with AIEF Partnerships Director Michelle Penfold.

"This ongoing partnership with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation provides a fantastic opportunity for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to have a real go at an elite AFL career," Mark said.

"The AFL has a strategic focus on finding and developing young Indigenous players and the Scholarship Program means that we can provide comprehensive support right to talented young Indigenous athletes throughout secondary school, and  in parallel with our development pathway.

“The Scholarships mean that young men who wouldn’t normally have the chance will be able to give AFL a go through our development programs, or if they’re already playing but need financial support to keep studying, to achieve the best education outcomes,” Browning said.

The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation is a private-sector led, non-profit organisation that aims to empower Indigenous children to build a future through quality education and career pathways. 

It provides scholarships for Indigenous students in financial need to attend some of the best boarding schools and residential university colleges across the country. 

Partnering with leading companies, AIEF’s interconnected programs follow the approach of engaged philanthropy to achieve the best possible outcomes for young Indigenous Australians.

The partnership with the AFL is one of many such programs delivering new opportunities to Indigenous students who want to make the most of their education.

Speaking during the launch, Michelle Penfold was really pleased to be working with a major national sport organisation like the AFL and looks forward to a strong and successful ongoing partnership.

“With their strong commitment to the community, AFL is a fantastic organisation to be partnering with. Together, we can ensure that more Indigenous students have access to quality education and can at the same time can make the most of their talent and passion for football. 

“We are also very excited about the opportunities this partnership holds for our Post-School Pathways Program.

“In this program, we work closely with our corporate partners and others to support the students at school and to offer a wide range of life and job-readiness programs and activities to facilitate the students’ transition into further study and careers. 

"A dedicated Student Support Manager works closely with our Year 12 students and graduates from AIEF Partner Schools to develop clear career goals and offers guidance and assistance to achieve these goals”, Penfold said.


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This is Our Game
2017 AFL International Cup