Date published: 29 June 2011
Geelong Cats star midfielder, premiership player and Brownlow Medalist Jimmy Bartel has been appointed as the Open Universities Australia (OUA) Education Ambassador as a result of its partnership with the AFL Players' Association.
Bartel has embraced the opportunity to represent OUA by sharing his positive experiences with online study.
"As an AFL player, I'm on the road a lot so getting time to attend uni isn't easy. Even when I'm at home, training schedules and the other club demands means it's vital that I have a flexible study timetable. OUA allows me to study where I want, when I want," Bartel said.
To celebrate Bartel's appointment and introduce him to the student population OUA ran a competition in May giving one of its students the chance to meet Jimmy and compete against him in some friendly football activities.
The lucky winner Brian Andrews from Upper Beaconsfield gave Jimmy a run for his money in a handball and goal kicking session at the Victorian Institute of Sport last Thursday.
"It was such a fantastic opportunity to meet someone you admire and have a bit of fun as well. It's also encouraging to know that if busy athletes like Jimmy can successfully fit study into their life, then the rest of us should have no excuses," said Mr Andrews.
Bartel's new role involves inspiring and motivating other footballers to study through OUA in order to assist them with their lives and careers after football.
As a dedicated student, Bartel has already completed several business units through OUA and offers the following advice to his fellow players: "Whether you study online for a qualification such as a degree or decide to go into a trade, it's a healthy distraction to get your mind away from football."
Looking beyond his football career, Bartel recognises the importance that online study plays in his future: "I'm not 100 per cent sure what I will do, but that's probably the point of doing this degree. I want to open up as many options as possible and I think with a business degree and my sporting background, I can pick between a huge array of options."
OUA Executive Director of Marketing Sales and Digital, Peter McMahon said: "Like OUA, Jimmy Bartel is a leader in his field and we are proud to have him join us as an education ambassador."
"Player enrolments have risen nearly 80 percent between the end of 2009 to end of 2010. From the enquiries and interest we are receiving from players, it's obvious that clubs are investing more time and money in preparing them for life after football."
"Some of the new courses being offered in 2011, including the Graduate Certificate in Sports Coaching and the Master of Sports Coaching, are attracting former AFL players looking to develop their skills for senior coaching roles," Mr McMahon said.
AFL Players' Chief Executive Matt Finnis said: "We are very pleased to continue our association with Open Universities Australia and support their efforts to broaden access to online education across the country."
The Association recently released the Development and Wellbeing Report 2010, which showed that 308 current and past players undertook external study in 2010, supported by more than $414,000 from its' Education and Training Grants program. More than 120 players were studying an undergraduate degree and eight were completing postgraduate study.
About Open Universities Australia
Owned by seven of Australia's premier universities, OUA is the national leader in quality online tertiary education. Enrolling more than 144,000 students since 1993, OUA provides access to over 1100 units and 130 qualifications taught by 18 leading Australian universities and tertiary education providers.