Skycity Breakers announce partnership with AUT

06 Nov, 2017
The SKYCITY Breakers have launched an official relationship with education provider, AUT

The SKYCITY Breakers have launched an official relationship with education provider Auckland University of Technology (AUT), in a multi-faceted partnership that sees both parties benefit year-round.

The North Shore based club has always been big on values and developing talent on and off court, and the partnership with AUT provides opportunities in both directions, with players utilizing AUT facilities for training and educational opportunities, while AUT students benefit through internship opportunities within the Breakers environment.

SKYCITY Breakers General manager Dillon Boucher spoke of the need to look beyond what happens in between the white lines.

“AUT will provide opportunities for our players to further their education while continuing their basketball careers, indeed the two should not be seen as mutually exclusive. A playing career has a finite time on it and players must always be thinking of life after basketball, especially if they are not planning on staying in the game in any capacity. AUT will assist in helping our players find the appropriate study outlet for them and give them that balance in life.”

For New Zealand’s fastest growing university, the partnership with the country’s fastest growing sport makes perfect sense.

“AUT provides a contemporary university education that includes strong ties to business and other external organizations. Working with the Breakers provides opportunities for our students and researchers,” said Chief Marketing Officer Luke Patterson.

The partnership does embrace some very direct benefits to the players from a health and wellbeing point of view. Claire Dallison is head of the health and conditioning team at the SKYCITY Breakers and is also an AUT staff member, leading the delivery of the Bachelor in Sport and Recreation at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

“AUT researchers are involved in both the sports science and physiotherapy areas with the Breakers as we use the data to look at research outputs critical to injury prevention and management, and the development of our players,” said Dallison.

“Furthermore, the NBL has a sponsorship arrangement with Catapult data analysis software this year and SKYCITY Breakers and AUT are making the most of this opportunity to gather data and use the information to enhance the high-performance management of our players.”

Dallison is also keen to work closely with AUT students who take up internships with the club, especially those who are working in areas of sport and recreation. These students have the opportunity over a full year of co-operative study to be fully involved in every aspect of the club.

These have traditionally been students in sports management but moving also into conditioning and data analysis roles within the Degree and Masters programmes. Julia Forde is currently an intern with the SKYCITY Breakers in the areas of finance and sports science.

“The learning in the real world is amazing from the front office to what happens on the court. Having to adapt to change on a daily basis with new things happening all the time is amazing and has given me so much learning,” said Forde.

There will be a very visual opportunity for AUT to promote their brand as well, with the partnership including the sponsorship of Jordan Ngatai, who will carry the AUT name throughout the season. That is not accidental either, with Tall Black looking to take some papers during the year as he looks to life beyond the basketball court.

The two organisations are not totally new to each other, the Breakers have been training at nearby AUT Millennium’s Institute of Sport and Health for many years and are in and around the AUT environment on a weekly basis, while other players have concluded studies with AUT.

Boucher says the club takes a serious view of developing well-rounded people, not just basketballers.

“One of the challenges of professional sport is that players need to continue to develop in all aspects of their lives. Their education is critical to their development as an athlete and the relationship with AUT will give us good flexible options to allow our players to follow a post-playing career path”.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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