The NRL recognised the 2018 NRL School to Work graduating class at an awards ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday, following the completion of the organisations' Indigenous education support program.
Eight young students, mentored by the Sharks School to Work Project Officer Daniel Holdsworth, were amongst those to graduate, with seven of the eight attending the awards ceremony.
Included among the local students present were Post-Secondary Participants Bailey Gental from St John Bosco High School, Bronte Nener and Kaneesha Charles from Sylvania High, Jacqueline Turnbull and Amy Curmi from Woolooware High and Taylor Sait, Cronulla High School. Heathcote High School's Mitchell Francis graduated the program but was unable to attend.
Sharks Have Heart General Manager George Nour, Richard Clarke from Capital Bluestone, the platinum partner of the Sharks Have Heart program, Renae Walker, Careers teacher at Sylvania High School, Holdsworth and a number of senior NRL Executives, also attended the awards ceremony.
Now in its fifth year, the award-winning School to Work program utilises the positive profile of rugby league to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to complete secondary school studies and move into further education or work.
In 2018, NRL School to Work supported 824 students through senior High School and post-schooling pathways across three States and 11 NRL Clubs.
"Rugby League has an enormous ability to make a difference and the NRL School to Work students graduating today are living-proof of this," NRL Chief Operating Officer Nick Weeks said.
"Since 2012, more than 900 students have been placed into employment or education through our program.
"NRL clubs, staff and the rugby league community should be immensely proud of these results and I congratulate the students for their hard-work and commitment to furthering themselves through work and study."
In 2018 the School to Work program expanded to include the addition of the Leadership League.
The new initiative provides extended guidance and mentorship to graduating School to Work students, with more than 100 students involved in Leadership League this year.
The NRL School to Work program is support by the Federal government to continue to close the gap across Indigenous communities.