The Wellington Phoenix have announced a partnership with the School of Sport and Recreation, for 2021, in what has been described as the first of its kind in New Zealand and potentially Australasia. The partnership between AUT and Wellington Phoenix will see AUT deliver the Diploma in Sport and Recreation for the Phoenix’s high-performing Academy programme in Wellington.
The programme will operate out of Fraser Park Sportsville, Lower Hutt, which is also the home of the Phoenix Academy, and will be taught in and around Academy training sessions. It will be open to male and female football players. In recognising that players needs are not just in the football space, the Diploma will include a holistic approach for students - including business and personal development papers. In addition, students will graduate with their OFC C Coaches’ License, giving them options to pursue any one of several career options in the sporting sector.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says the club has long recognised a gap in football development in New Zealand and believes AUT Diploma offers the solution.
“We developed this partnership because we saw a hole in football development post-secondary school, and talented youngsters were falling through the cracks because of it.
“Football is one of the most popular school sports in New Zealand and around the world, and the Diploma creates that much-needed bridge, a stable pathway between secondary school and a career in professional football for students.”
Dome says this continues the club’s tradition of innovation and building pathways for youth in the sporting space. “Over the past several years you’ve seen the Phoenix taking a leading role in the development of young football players in New Zealand, and the Diploma is a natural extension of that.
“The club and AUT see it as the first step in building a world-class structure in the future, where we can ensure our youth have a defined and trusted pathway towards reaching their football goals, whether it’s as a player, a coach or in the technical field.”
Dome says The Phoenix couldn’t ask for a better partner than AUT to make this opportunity possible. “AUT is the recognised leader in New Zealand in the sport and recreation space, and the highest ranked university in New Zealand for Sports Science [Shanghai Ranking: Academic Ranking of World Universities] and in the top 1% in the world.”
“We are really excited about the prospect of working with AUT to roll out this programme in 2021, to start building the football stars of tomorrow in the sporting industry.”
Professor Erica Hinckson, the Head of the School of Sport Recreation, says, “We are also very excited to have this opportunity to work with the Wellington Phoenix to enable the academy players to stay in Wellington and continue their education with AUT”.