Media centre

Date published: 14 August 2012

Open Universities Australia (OUA), the National Rugby League (NRL) and the Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) have joined forces to establish a tertiary online education program.

NRL and RLPA employees, members and their families will have access to over 1400 units and 170 qualifications from over 20 of Australia's leading universities and partners together online through OUA.

"Open Universities Australia is proud of its partnerships and is delighted to extend its corporate community to include the NRL and RLPA. These bodies are committed to the educational goals and aspirations of their players. OUA is natural fit because of its online nature and hence ability to provide players with a life and career after sport," says Mr Peter McMahon, Executive Director, Marketing, Sales & Digital.

The NRL and RLPA jointly administer the Welfare and Education Program, which is a far-reaching strategy aimed at growing, enriching and supporting the personal and professional development of rugby league players. In 2012 there are 169 contracted NRL players currently studying at University.

"Having the flexibility of continuing education via the distance learning option available through OUA has made obtaining a degree much more achievable for our professional athletes," says Paul Heptonstall, Senior NRL Welfare and Education Manager.

In addition to educating and supporting players in continuing careers outside of the game, the program aims to equip players with the ethical tools and framework to enhance both their involvement in the game, and the wider community.

According to Mr McMahon, "OUA is pleased to support the Welfare and Education objectives of these sporting bodies. Currently we work with over 30 leading Australian companies and bodies to assist with the professional and personal development goals of their employees, members or players."

Sporting enrolments currently make up close to 12% of OUA's corporate client portfolio. Other sporting clients include the Victorian Institute of Sport, the AFL Players' Association, Professional Footballers Australia and the Football Federation of Australia.

About Open Universities Australia - leading online learning

Owned by seven of Australia's premier universities, OUA is the national leader in quality online tertiary education. Enrolling more than 200,000 students since 1993, OUA provides access to over 1400 units and 170 qualifications taught by more than 20 leading Australian universities and tertiary education providers.

For further information, please contact:
Jessica Singh
External Communications and Media Relations Officer
Open Universities Australia
Ph: 03 8628 2412
Mobile: +61 419 662 553
E: jessica.singh@open.edu.au