Melbourne based Umpire Training and Property Assistant Ben Carbonaro has been selected as a finalist in the National Employment Services Award For Excellence.  NESA (National Employment Services Association) is Australia’s peak employment services body.

Ben was placed into the AFL structure through a Chris Donlon initiated program to assist people with a disability.  National Head of Umpiring, Wayne Campbell and the Umpiring Department took up the challenge and supported Ben’s appointment for 2015. 

Ben has worked so well, he was offered ongoing employment in his role for 2016.  Ben is nominated in the category of Achiever of the year.  He was nominated by his support team from both the MatchWorks Werribee branch and head office in Geelong.

As the Brownlow Medal count is conducted at Crown Palladium on Monday night, Ben will be at his own Brownlow award at the Marriott Surfers Paradise.  Scrolling through the other awards to be made on the night, MatchWorks employment consultant Irene Sazdov has been nominated for the Employment Consultant Of The Year award.

Ben has certainly brought a breath of fresh air with him into the training services area. 

A trained journalist, there is nothing he doesn’t know about any umpire on the list.  He has formed friendships throughout the whole group and has worked diligently ensuring every umpire and trainer has all of their umpiring gear, tickets and a myriad of other things for every game on a given weekend.

Using social media, he has connected with many of our current non Victorian running members to not just introduce himself, but also to see if they required any uniform items. These items are usually taken interstate by the field umpires heading to the respective states to officiate in a given game or collected by the interstate umpires themselves when they have trained in Melbourne.

Away from the training environment, Ben also attended at last one home and away game each week during the 2015 season. At the games, he assisted with the recording of bouncing statistics for field umpire coaches along with plotting where boundary throw ins landed on sheets for National Boundary Umpire Coach Simon Leigh. He also picked up a new skill along the way, using Sports Code computer software after being was given an opportunity to code several games by Steve Keating.

In an interview we filmed with Ben earlier this year, he even questioned the goal umpire’s motives as part of the umpiring group because they were so collectively quiet.

“To say that I am thrilled to have made the final of these awards is an understatement,” said Ben today as he began packing his suitcase to head to the Gold Coast.

Head trainer Phil Watson who has been Ben’s boss this year says quite unequivocally, “give Ben a job to do and it will be taken to the letter.”  So what do you mean by that Phil?  “If the task is to pump up all footys on Thursday night you better believe all footys will be pumped up on Thursday night without having to ask again,” laughed Phil.  “Ben is very easy to deal with as long as you keep steering him in the right direction.”  Phil says Ben would be a deserved winner of the award.  “He is well liked by everyone who comes into contact with him around the place.  I wish him well on Monday night.”

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