Kicking goals with flexible working

Kicking goals with flexible working

Four elite AFLW players have swapped their footy boots for desks, thanks to flexible working arrangements at RMIT.

Sarah Lampard, Harriet Cordner, Catherine Cheong, Jas Grierson and Ainslie Kemp.

Melbourne Football Club’s Harriet Cordner, Sarah Lampard, and Ainslie Kemp and North Melbourne Football Club's Jas Grierson are currently employed in casual work at RMIT.

Thinking outside the boundary  

The idea to employ athletes arose when Senior Coordinator of Student Lifecycle in the College of Business, Catherine Cheong, found her team required extra casual staff during peak periods to help complete a range of administrative tasks.

Cheong said when she needed to fill casual roles in her team, she decided to contact the AFL Player’s Association directly, to find a different type of applicant – sportswomen.

Professional sportswomen often need to work flexible hours, and supplement their sport’s salaries, meaning it can be difficult to find casual employment to fit around their careers.

The approach proved to be a great success, with previous recruits including the likes of Geelong Football Club captain Melissa Hickey and two-time All Australian player Karen Paxman.

 “It’s been a great opportunity for the girls to not only have work to complement their training schedules, but to equip them with key skills and experience to be prepared for life after football,” Cheong said.

Cheong said it was important to support people with fit-for-purpose working arrangements to balance work and life and provide a flexible and inclusive workplace.

Footy in her veins

Cordner – the eighth member of her family to pull on the Melbourne guernsey -  said it was a great job that went alongside goes alongside footy.  

“It means we have the flexibility with our hours to work around training, appointments and any other commitments we may have,” she said.Cordner’s footy career adds a chapter to her family’s rich football history with the AFL’s oldest club.

Her grandfather Dr Don Cordner won the game’s highest individual honour – the Brownlow medal – in 1946 and was named in the club’s Team of the Century in 2000.

She is now lining up for the Dees as a key defender who can also chip in at ruck contests.

Colleagues to competitors

While they’re colleagues at RMIT, outside of the office, the competition remains fierce.

Cordner, Lampard and Kemp go head-to-head with Grierson in this weekend’s AFLW Round 4 clash. 

Melbourne takes on North Melbourne Sunday afternoon at Casey Fields.


Story: Maddy Pattinson and Jasmijn van Houten

21 February 2019


21 February 2019


  • Sport
  • Society
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Future World of Work

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