Basketball partnership a winning team for APM participants

APM Employment Services Austin Bruton with CJ and Cal Bruton

Job seekers in Bendigo took to the basketball court for a transformative new program to build life skills, achieve their goals and find employment.

The SWAG Program by Bruton Basketball Foundation and APM Employment Services aims to help participants overcome barriers to employment, gain confidence, resilience, and engage with employers in their local community.

The program also engages with groups and communities to support job seekers from First Nations communities.

Bendigo recently saw the first 15 participants graduate from the four-day program, which incorporates classroom workshops and time on the basketball court.

SWAG – Skillset, Work ethic, Attitude is your altitude, and Goals - is spearheaded by NBL legends Cal and CJ Bruton through the Bruton Basketball Foundation.

“This program is to help people transition from sports to recruitment.  To help you into your job and out of your comfort zone, and create opportunities to show how teamwork and balancing life, work and the skill set all together,” said CJ.

APM Employment Services supports job seekers in Bendigo as a provider of the Government’s Workforce Australia scheme.

Jackie, a Workforce Australia participant with APM, said despite facing health challenges due to endometriosis, found solace and support in the program.

“The challenges of finding a job would have to be like my health and doctors and hospital appointments. Cheryl from APM called me and asked me if I wanted to do the program. I said yeah, why not."

Participant Matthew said the program reignited his confidence and helped him on a challenging path.

"Trying to find a job for me was pretty hard because I was heavily drug affected until the last 10 months. I found out about SWAG program through APM."

Man shoots with a basketball

Assistant Manager, Cheryl, from APM, said the partnership was a valuable way to provide mentorship for participants in a fun and meaningful way.

“What we’ve seen over the last couple of days is the interaction between Cal and CJ and our participants playing basketball and having fun but also having little sessions where they’re just really telling their story of their life.”

Raymond, another participant, said the program made a huge positive impact on his life.

"I don't know much about basketball, but the last three days have been phenomenal," he said.

Rocky, an employment consultant with APM added: “We try to work out their barriers and work through their barriers. Until they reach their final goal, which is employment.”

Following the success of the Bendigo program, BBF and APM are looking to establish the SWAG program in other areas of Australia.