With strong support from our player ambassadors, the programs encourage indigenous participants to engage in football development, leadership and cultural identity initiatives with nine per cent of our elite players from indigenous backgrounds.
The AFL is proud of its commitment to foster and strengthen inclusion and diversity in Australia’s Game.
AFL’s Head of Diversity
The AFL delivers a number of dedicated AFL programs at grassroots level to indigenous communities and also focuses on the next generation of AFL footballers.
The AFL indigenous programs include the KickStart Championships (male and female), the Flying Boomerangs, Footy Means Business, talent pathways, Club Partnership Program, Indigenous All-Stars, Dream Time and Coaches Academy.
The objectives of the AFL indigenous programs are to provide opportunities to be engaged in the game as a fan, player, volunteer, umpire or employee.
The AFL also fosters employment opportunities in the wider community through partnerships with Rio Tinto and AFL corporate partners.
The aim of the programs is to expose participants to football development, leadership and cultural identity.
This is achieved through education on the AFL’s indigenous programs’ four pillars: resilience, communication, decision-making and identity.
FOOTY MEANS BUSINESS
Each year, the Rio Tinto Footy Means Business program provides high performance and employment opportunities for 50 young indigenous men (aged 18-24) from across Australia. The program consists of two camps held in February and May. The AFL and Rio Tinto have set a 100 per cent target for participants to be engaged in employment/education or training at the completion of the program.
The AFL Indigenous All-Stars, in conjunction with the AFL Players’ Association, invite all AFL indigenous players from around the country to participate in a camp, which focuses on career development and leadership.
THE KICKSTART PROGRAM
The KickStart program uses Australian Football as a vehicle for education, health and participation outcomes for indigenous male and female youth.
The National KickStart Championships are an annual event, which sees more than 150 indigenous players representing their state in a round-robin football carnival over five days. The KickStart Championships are also the pathway to the Flying Boomerangs.
THE FLYING BOOMERANGS
The Flying Boomerangs is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men (aged 14-15).
These participants are the best rising indigenous talent in the nation and are given the chance to represent their country. Selected from the AFL KickStart Under-15 Championships, the Flying Boomerangs squad of 25 players play football matches against a developing country.
The AFL’s first indigenous nine-a-side KickStart Championships consists of seven state teams (12 players a team) with a total of 84 indigenous females playing in the National Female KickStart Championships. Twenty-five of the best-performing participants throughout the championships will be selected to represent the Flying Woomeras team in the Youth Girls National Championships.
The AFL Woomeras program is a national female indigenous development program. Selected from the National Female KickStart Championships, the program has been established to provide young indigenous women with the opportunity to develop on and off the football field.
In 2013, the AFL launched the Indigenous Coaching Academy. With a lack of senior indigenous coaches at the elite level, the academy is aimed at seeing participants complete the program with the potential of becoming a senior coach in the AFL industry.
Through social media, the AFL can communicate directly and interact with the indigenous community. The media platforms include an indigenous
Facebook page, indigenous Twitter account and the AFL website. There are also relationships with NIRS radio and NITV.