Autism is no barrier to scoring NRL traineeship

By Luisa Bustos, 17 May 2016 , Comments

Patrick Muscat is 20 years old and went straight from Year 12 to Northcott’s two-year Transition to Work program in Casula in 2014. He has autism spectrum disorder and anxiety.

When Patrick came to Northcott, he had no idea what he wanted to do. We supported him to learn new life and work skills and build his confidence around others.

In his second year of the TTW program, we secured Patrick a work experience placement with the National Rugby League (NRL) in Campbelltown. In January this year, Patrick commenced a paid traineeship with the NRL, helping to organise and run NRL training days for school students.

It’s a dream job for the footie fan, whose confidence and work skills, continue to grow each day in the role.

The opportunity was made possible thanks to a partnership between Northcott Employment, NRL and the Government’s Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS) program.

We recently spoke with Patrick about TTW and his new job.

How has Northcott Transition to Work and Northcott Employment helped you?

They helped by organising my work placement with NRL which eventually led to where I am today. They helped to make sure everything went smoothly and my Key Worker helped turn my work experience into employment. The TTW staff  taught me about life skills and work skills and helped improve my confidence over the last two years.

What skills did you learn at TTW that have helped at work?

I learnt how to write resumes and cover letters, what to do and what not to do in a workplace, good workplace habits and life skills, like cleaning and looking after myself and social skills.

Can you tell me about the work experience you originally did with NRL?

I started on March 3rd last year (2015) and I did work experience for about 8 months. I did work experience for so long because they were interested in employing me but the process took a while and the traineeship couldn’t start until this year.

I helped the team set up and pack up for a variety of events like gala days, and clinics. I helped them referee football games as well.

Patrick Muscat enjoys working with children at NRL Gala Days

Tell me about traineeship with the NRL?

I started in January this year.  The number of days and hours I work each week depends on the week itself. It can be as little as 1 day or as many as 4 days. The traineeship is onsite at NRL so I don’t go to TAFE.

Why did you want to get a job at the NRL?

NRL is one of my favourite sports and this is a job that I am passionate about. I have been refereeing local rugby league games for about five years – before I started work experience.

What  tasks do you do in your job with the NRL?

I help with training and Gala Days. I help with the score cards, getting the equipment ready, pumping up the footballs. I also organise some referees. I contact my rugby referee chairman and sort out some referees. And I make sure that all of the equipment is ready in the cars before the event.

On a Gala Day, I help set up tents and promotional flags, mark the fields, referee games and then pack everything up afterwards.

Patrick Muscat refereeing as part of his traineeship with the NRL

What do you enjoy most about working with the NRL?

I really enjoy just hanging out with the guys at NRL. My favourite days are the disability days because I see the smile on the children’s faces and know they are enjoying themselves just having a go.

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