When professional rugby league player and Parramatta Eels Captain Tim Mannah has the chance to give young footballers a message, this is it: “We’re presented with a great opportunity to be athletes but we’re also presented with a good opportunity to take on an education. You can only benefit from it.”
After taking 10 years to complete his Bachelor of Sports Business due to sporting commitments, Tim understands the value of education.
“It is really important to study alongside a sporting career,” he says. “I think it’s a bit of a shame to see the number of athletes that miss the opportunity.”
“Unfortunately a lot of young athletes jump straight out of school into the elite program, they miss the window of their life to take on the extra study, get to the end of their career and they don’t have much to fall back on. For me, it was an obvious choice to do it while I was playing so I could set up my life for when my career finishes.”
ACPE was also an obvious choice for Tim. As a semi-professional player at high school, Tim says when he was looking at his options, ACPE stood out as a sports-specific college that was happy to work with athletes with its Elite Athlete and Coach Program.
“They understand your training loads, they understand the pressures that come with your job and they create an environment where you feel comfortable to tell them what you’re going through and know they’ll be happy to work with you,” he says.
“The biggest benefit of being in the elite athlete program is the flexibility and time to get things done,” Tim says. “Many times when you’re travelling, you’re playing an away game and you’re not in town when you need to be doing an exam or an assignment is due. The college is so helpful in the ways they cater to your needs and work around your schedule.”
Tim says the course has made a big difference in his sports career.
“As athletes, we don’t get taught much about our tax, about how to deal with management or sponsors. I feel like you learn so much practical advice just through the course that has a direct outcome on your career,” he says. “You develop as a person as well as developing your education.”
With his degree now complete, Tim says he’s still got a few years of learning in him. He is determined to do so while he’s still playing and is now gaining practical experience working a day a week on the corporate side of rugby league.
Read more about ACPE’s Elite Athlete and Coach Program.