CARLTON is hopeful the launch of its 'Carlton College of Sport' program in February next year will provide the club with both on-field and off-field benefits.
The 12-month program, which will be run in conjunction with La Trobe University, will see students undertake a higher education diploma for three days per week at Ikon Park.
While it is set to supply the club with another avenue for non-traditional revenue growth, its football department could also profit, with Carlton committed to hiring a minimum of four students per year from the program into positions within the football club.
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Carlton CEO Cain Liddle has been integral to the launch of the program, having set up a similar enterprise named the Richmond Institute of Sport Leadership during his time at Punt Road, and believes the benefits are clear for both students and the club.
"The advantage of the program over other similar courses is that the students will get to undertake their education within an elite sporting environment," Liddle told AFL.com.au.
"When we talk about wanting to get jobs in elite sport in the future, we're introducing them to that environment now.
"Within the course, each student will undertake 100 hours of practical work. It's reasonably commonplace among all courses, but the beauty of this one is that those 100 hours will all be completed within the Carlton business.
"That will be across membership, fan engagement, retail, part of football, events … for kids who want to work in elite sport, they're getting the very best opportunity to get some experience in that area."
Liddle played a key role in the creation of a number of non-traditional revenue streams at Richmond, also playing a significant part in the club taking ownership of Aligned Leisure.
He believes such growth areas will only continue to develop at football clubs in the future.
"There was a gap in the market and (Richmond) was able to exploit that gap," Liddle said.
"Obviously, we're now talking about education. A number of clubs have gone into esports, so for the clubs that are prepared to sit down, think about it and potentially take a risk, there are a number of opportunities.
"I think you will see over time, it will become more commonplace."
As for the benefits for students, Liddle believes the chance to use the course as a 12-month job interview will increase the likelihood of entering the industry post-university.
"There will definitely be opportunities," Liddle said.
"The great thing about the program is that the students spending 12 months within our environment get a perfect interview opportunity.
"They get to meet our staff, our staff get to meet them, they get to participate in some of the activities, they get to work out where their interest really lies. It puts them in the best position if roles do come up in the future."