The finance group and industry association that launched the School Entrepreneurs Program – a national initiative that enables brokers to give financial literacy courses to youths in their community – is looking to include young players in the National Rugby League in its future educational efforts.
The existing program, available to high school students and local youth groups, was developed by Astute Ability Finance Group and the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA). It covers topics such as setting up a business, developing business plans, marketing strategies, human resources, product development, strategies for profit, loss and future business direction.
Former rugby league international and current assistant coach for the North Queensland Cowboys, David Fairleigh, has expressed hope that younger NRL players might improve their financial skills and knowledge through a similar program.
“So many players leave everything regarding their financial affairs to their management, particularly for the young guys coming through the ranks who find themselves being paid much more than other people in their age group,” he explained.
“There is an opportunity for the NRL to offer some guidance through a financial education program.”
Founder and principal of Astute, Mhairi MacLeod, and the MFAA have been working with the NRL to develop a program catered to players, with Richmond AFL star Alex Rance already on-board as an ambassador.
MacLeod said, “Thousands of young Australians have benefited from taking part in the program and acquiring knowledge and skills which will make them more self-sufficient and better prepared for adulthood.
“I am confident a similar program would be of tremendous assistance to NRL players to help them manage their affairs and also provide a pathway for life after football.”
The proposed program would only require an hour commitment per week for six to 10 weeks, a timeframe that could easily be fit into the off-season.
Remembering the North Sydney club folding in 1999 and finding himself out of a job, Fairleigh concluded, “The game has been good to me for more than 30 years, but it’s not always smooth sailing. It can be a fickle industry, but if you have good financial plans in place that can be a big help.”