Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd assists rugby players with continuing education

News News & events

30 Sep 2019

A number of Canterbury rugby players are pursuing tertiary qualifications through Ara Institute of Canterbury, benefitting from a relationship between the provincial union and the local tertiary education provider. CRFU and Ara formed a community partnership in 2017, to assist rugby clubs, administrators and players with a pathway to continuing tertiary education.

Canterbury Rugby CEO Tony Smail said: “The CRFU is committed to improving capabilities within our community game, and the Ara scholarship options available to registered members of CRFU-affiliated clubs is a fantastic way for those clubs and their players, to upskill and pursue ongoing education options.”

“It is also important that players in our representative teams set themselves up for a career outside of rugby, and it is hoped that this partnership with Ara will encourage more players to pursue both their rugby and study goals,” Mr Smail said.

Ara Engagement Manager Emma West said: “Ara is committed to supporting CRFU players and club members to engage in further learning, while building on individual and club capability and ultimately setting members up for success in their future career pathways.

“It’s important to Ara that we create better access to tertiary education for young people and that we work alongside our local communities to meet skill shortage needs. As such, this collaborative partnership with the CRFU is about reinforcing and growing community capability by providing opportunities for these players to broaden their horizons.”

20-year-old Fergus Burke is one emerging talent who is prioritising study through Ara alongside his rugby aspirations. Burke made his debut for the Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup side in the season opener against Waikato, and is currently studying a New Zealand Diploma in Business at Ara.

Two Canterbury Under 19 players, Finlay Brewis and Burns Mills, are also pursuing study through Ara, with Brewis working towards a Diploma in Business, and Mills studying a New Zealand Diploma in Construction. The Canterbury Under 19 side have just returned from Taupo, where they won the Premiership division of the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament.

“When I did my initial research on Ara it all seemed very practical and real-world based which suits my learning style,” Brewis said.

“When you are interested in the work and genuinely invested it becomes a lot easier to learn and apply it.

“There is lots of support from the staff at Ara, checking in and making sure I understand the work and providing quality advice. My time management skills have been put under pressure a fair bit which is good because it helps me with that balance and planning for life after rugby.”

Mills said: “I choose to study at Ara because it fits my learning style. Having not come from the construction industry, the real-life examples the teachers provide during class makes it a lot easier for me to understand, and the chance to complete an internship also really appeals to me.”

Now in his second year of study Mills admits he has had to juggle his commitments, but now he has it in hand. 
“Initially in my first year I was studying eight papers, which I found problematic as my week consisted of 10-12 hour days sometimes. I now study six papers part-time, allowing myself to focus more on both rugby and my studies, and giving my full attention to both.”

All three young men are set to complete their current qualifications within the next year.

Ara is the largest vocational training organisation in the South Island and has more than 150 qualifications available. CRFU’s partnership with Ara sees up to 20 scholarships available annually, up to a total value of $40,000, which  help club administrators upskill, and players to embark on further education.

For further information on study options at Ara Institute of Canterbury, visit their website. For details on the scholarships available through the Ara and CRFU partnership, click here.