Article written by: Work Experience student, Jai Venturoni from Haileybury College

From November 12-16 I completed my year 10 work experience with the AFL Umpires’ Association (AFLUA) where I undertook a number of varying tasks. As a field umpire myself in the South Metro Junior Football League, I had an idea of what life is like on-field, but I wasn’t sure what to expect off field, particularly in the off-season.

To start off the week I did some work with Administrative Assistant Julia Gauci, where I performed tasks such as double-checking statistics for the umpires that have been nominated for life membership with the AFLUA for ten years of service to the association. Following this I set up the voting for life membership and lifetime achievement award before updating the umpire’s guernsey numbers on the AFLUA website ahead of the 2019 AFL Premiership Season. I finished the first day off by organising the life member certificates from the previous year and beginning to work on the December newsletter.

After a busy first day, I shifted to work with Peter Kelly the Marketing and Communications coordinator. We started to go over the history of the AFLUA from 24thof May 1909 to today where things have changed so much. Next, we moved to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the current Heads of Agreement between the AFL and the AFLUA. The key parts of these that I took note of was the list management and the umpire pay structure. I also drafted an email to be sent to the AFLUA Executive Committee about their upcoming meeting then I finished off working with Chief Executive Officer Peter Howe on topics such as banking, umpire payments and membership.

The following day I worked on event planning where I looked at possible locations where future events could be hosted and how this could be organised. I looked at how an agenda is made and began making a draft agenda for upcoming events.

On Thursday I organised questionnaires for the new umpires that have been appointed to the AFL Umpires list, so that the people in the umpiring community can learn about their umpiring career so far. I then worked on sorting out the umpire of the year nominations for the upcoming AFLUA Awards for next year. Later in the day, I travelled with Peter Howe to Ikon Park to meet the field umpires, who started pre-season training that night. To name a few I met Grand Final umpires including Shaun Ryan, Matt Stevic and Ray Chamberlain, and some of the new up and coming umpires like Nathan Williamson and Eleni Glouftsis. The impression I have received from meeting a lot of the umpires is that they are a bit like one big happy family. Meeting the umpires was a great privilege that I am happy I was able to accept.

From my week of doing work experience I am very happy with my choice to join the AFLUA for the week and have learnt a lot about the off-field life of umpires. I have no regrets what so ever and I hope to one day have the privilege of being an AFL umpire and AFLUA member.

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