The Wellington Phoenix have announced a ground-breaking partnership with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) through the School of Sport and Recreation, in what has been described as the first of its kind in New Zealand and potentially Australasia.
The partnership between AUT and Wellington Phoenix will see AUT deliver their existing Diploma in Sport and Recreation for the Phoenix’s high-performing Academy programme in Wellington from 2021 onwards.
The programme will operate out of Fraser Park Sportsville in Lower Hutt which is also the home of the Phoenix Academy, and will be taught in and around Academy training sessions as a core part of its offering. The Diploma will be open to both male and female football players.
In recognising that players needs are not just in the football space, the Diploma will include a holistic approach for students - including business and personal development papers in addition to the on-field football development. In addition, students will graduate with their OFC C Coaches’ License, giving them options to pursue any one of a number of career options in the sporting sector. The AUT Diploma is fully recognised and supported by the Government, with free fees first year and student allowance benefits for eligible students.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says that the club has long recognised a gap in football development in New Zealand, and believes this Diploma offers the solution to it.
“This partnership was developed because we saw a hole in football development post-secondary school, and talented youngsters were falling through the cracks because of it.
“Football is one of the most popular school sports in New Zealand and around the world, and this Diploma creates that much-needed bridge, a stable pathway between secondary school and a career in professional football for students.”
Dome says this continues the club’s tradition of innovation and building pathways for youth in the sporting space.
“Over the past several years you’ve seen the Phoenix taking a leading role in the development of young football players in New Zealand, and this Diploma is a natural extension of that.
“The club and AUT both see this Diploma as the first step in building a world-class structure in the future, where we can ensure our youth have a defined and trusted pathway towards reaching their football goals, whether it’s as a player, a coach or in the technical field.”
Dome says that the club couldn’t ask for a better partner than AUT to make this opportunity possible.
“AUT are the recognised leaders in New Zealand in the sport and recreation space, and they’re the highest ranked university in New Zealand for Sports Science [ARWU ranking] and in the top 1% in the world.”
“We are really excited about the prospect of working with AUT to roll out this programme in 2021, to start building the football stars of tomorrow in the sporting industry.”
Professor Erica Hinckson, the Head of the School of Sport Recreation, says “we are also very excited to have this opportunity to work with the Wellington Phoenix to enable the academy players to stay in Wellington and continue their education with AUT”.
AUT’s mission is to create great graduates, and each member of our staff contributes to this. We offer exceptional learning experiences that prepare students to be successful wherever in the world their career may take them.
We’re proud to be one of the world’s best modern universities – Times Higher Education has ranked us as the top millennial university in Australasia and number 14 in the world. We have an overall five-star rating from university rankings organisation QS, in addition to five star ratings for Teaching, Employability, Research, Internationalisation, Facilities, Innovation and Inclusiveness.
We have been a university since 2000, and are now the second largest in the country and ranked among the top 1% (251-300) of universities in the world.