THE COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant business downturn, including job losses, in a number of industries across the North Coast.
However, one organisation that’s bucking the trend is AFL NSW/ACT, and in particular the AFL North Coast.
An increased demand for development programs sees AFL NSW/ACT looking for staff to conduct programs between Forster and Iluka, whilst the rapid competition growth also means that there are more opportunities than ever for people to earn money through umpiring.
Northern NSW Development Lead Matt Crawley said that AFL experience is well regarded but not essential to fill these roles..
“The majority of our development work is with primary school aged children, so we’re looking for people who can engage kids and provide a fun environment,” he said.
“We’ll provide training to show new staff how to run drills and teach the skills of the game so a lack of AFL experience won’t rule anyone out of the running,
“The work is casual in nature so we’re looking for people with flexibility in their availability throughout the week. In the past we’ve found that these roles have really suited university students, people who work other part time or casual roles, and mums looking to return to the workforce.”
Another season of competition growth means that umpires are needed from Port Macquarie to Lismore to officiate in matches from the Under 15 age group through to the first-grade competition.
The addition of the Lismore Swans and Casino Lions to this year’s AFL North Coast competition means there will be more games to officiate and a greater need for more umpires.
The continued growth in the women’s game on the AFL North Coast also contributes to the increasing number of games which need to be officiated.
AFL North Coast Community Football Manager Paul Taylor told News Of The Area that despite the downturn in employment due to COVID-19, the expanding nature of the AFL North Coast competitions meant more job opportunities existed in their sporting organisation.
“Increased demand for development programs and competition opportunities means that AFL NSW/ACT has opportunities for local people to work as Development Officers and/or become umpires and earn money,” he said.
“Considering the downturn in most industries has left plenty of people looking for ways to earn money, these are great opportunities for anyone interested in sport from Forster through to Iluka and everywhere in between.”
Officiating AFL North Coast matches could be a lucrative prospect for potential umpires according to Crawley.
“Umpiring provides the best seat in the house and is a great chance to get fit and join a community of like-minded people,” he said.
“Best of all, umpires receive a tax-free payment for all matches and can earn several hundred dollars across a weekend.
“Our priority is to find umpires aged 18 and above to officiate in the Under 15 and older age groups, however there are also opportunities for younger people to officiate in the Under 11 and under 13 age groups.
“We’re looking for people who can make decisions, control a match, and have confidence in the way they present themselves.
“Training will be provided both online and in a face-to-face session on Sunday 14 March so AFL experience isn’t essential.”
To express an interest in the role of Development Officer please email: email@example.com.
For those interested in getting involved in umpiring, go to https://umpire.afl/become-an-umpire.
By Aiden BURGESS