North Queensland Cowboys

Players train for life after football


Since the club’s inception in 1995, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have navigated the highs and lows of professional sport to emerge as a strong contender within the National Rugby League competition and a cornerstone of the North Queensland economy. Local community programs and initiatives are a key part of the club's identity.


The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ players recognised the need to prepare for their future through gaining new skills to allow them to transition into alternative career paths at the end of their football careers.

The players sought to acquire hospitality and business skills to equip them with new qualifications that provided peace of mind and a positive attitude towards their futures.

Desired outcomes:

  • Provide players with the confidence and skills to equip them for life post Rugby League, to help them successfully transition into another career
  • Develop a flexible training program customised to players’ busy training and playing schedules
  • Deliver a program that aligned with the players' preference of hands-on training over classroom based training
  • Develop a program that would equip the players with the knowledge they require for their chosen industry, given their minimal experience in hospitality or business

In line with their commitment to assisting players’ transition after sport, the Cowboys were extremely supportive of the players' desire to undertake courses, working with Allara Learning to facilitate their study around their training and playing commitments.

Allara Learning developed a customised program to allow 13 Cowboys players to undertake a double Diploma of Hospitality and Business Management. Allara Learning and the Cowboys collaborated to ensure course delivery was tailored to suit the players’ busy schedules, allowing players to complete their courses without detracting from their time training and on the field.

Course information was delivered through a mix of classroom based and hands-on instruction from the professional trainers at Allara Learning. They undertook workshops with some of the hospitality industry’s leading talent, including nationally renowned cocktail extraordinaire Marco Nunes, who led a cocktail workshop for them.

A key component of the course was giving the players the practical experience to demonstrate the skills they had learned. In order to achieve this, the players organised, hosted and served over 220 guests at the ‘Cowboys Night for a Cause’ fundraiser event, which provided them with the chance to develop their practical skills outside the classroom.

The opportunity to participate in a charity event while putting their skills to work was motivating for the players, who selected a number of causes to donate to that were close to their heart.

Doing study outside training and playing for the Cowboys allows me to learn skills that will be useful for life after football. It gives me the opportunity to work towards achieving qualifications that will further myself and allow me to be a role model both on and off the field. Being able to deliver this event and help Headspace, a charity that’s close to my heart, is a win-win situation for me.

The players are on track to graduate in mid-2019. The combination of classroom based and practical experience provided players with the confidence and skills to pursue another career post Rugby League.

The ‘Cowboys Night for a Cause’ event raised over $52,000 for seven charities. The event was attended by key ministers in the education and employment space, including the Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors, Coralee O’Rourke, and Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews.
Government agency, MySkills VET, praised Allara Learning and the Cowboys for the training initiative.