AFLW stars Britt Bonnici and Elise O’Dea visited Morwell on Wednesday 10th April to inspire and speak to local young people about their career journeys, as part of a Victorian Youth Week event hosted by Ladder.

The Collingwood and Melbourne AFLW stars participated in a public Q&A, answering questions from Ladder program participants and members of the community about their experiences of playing AFLW and personal challenges faced in their career journeys.

Ladder Acting CEO Stephanie De Campo said that as Ladder is the official charity of AFL Players, it was wonderful to have Elise and Britt visit the program and speak with young people about how they chose and pursued their education and career goals.

“For these players, the AFLW league was a dream that became a reality. I hope that the young people in our program are inspired by the players’ stories and they are motivated to dream big and have the self-belief that they can achieve their goals."

“When the young people start the Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program, they are uncertain about what they want to do and what opportunities are out there. The program offers participants the chance to explore a variety of industries, so they can test and secure a position that they are interested in."

“Since this pilot program commenced, Ladder has supported over 40 young people to identify and achieve their education, training or employment goals. Over 80% of graduates have engaged in education, training or employment opportunities across 14 separate local industries.” Ms De Campo said.

Ladder Development Coach and co-captain of the AFLW Western Bulldogs Ellie Blackburn has worked directly with young people from the Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program. “It’s fantastic to have the support of the AFLW players, sharing their experience of how they’ve gotten to where they are today. I think the young people in the Ladder program will really benefit from the opportunity to hear real stories from these players,” Ms Blackburn said.

Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley is a 24-month pilot program being delivered in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority to help kick start the career prospects of up to 80 local young people at-risk of long-term unemployment. Latrobe Valley Authority CEO Karen Cain said “Victorian Youth Week is a fantastic time to inspire young people to achieve their goals and recognise the incredible work of Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley in our region.”

Ladder would like to thank the Victorian Government for supporting the event with Youth Week grant funding and the Italian Australian Club and Lululemon for supporting the event through in-kind support.