THE Edmund Rice Centre WA Umpiring Academy is recruiting multicultural young people aged 12 to 21 to join the program after launching for the 2019 season.
Butler resident Brenda Amito launched the academy in 2017 when she was 14 years old to introduce AFL umpiring to culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) youth.
“My passion for umpiring began when I attended a coaching camp through the ERCWA and had a one-hour umpiring session which got me hooked,” the Ugandan migrant said.
“From there, I knew I had a future in AFL and umpiring in particular.
“I was subsequently offered an internship, which has become a paid school-based traineeship, at ERCWA to work on developing an academy to introduce AFL umpiring to other passionate young people like myself.”
It is the first multicultural AFL academy in WA to promote the transition of multicultural youth into mainstream umpiring.
Since it started, 24 multicultural young people have obtained their introductory level officiating accreditation and some have started to make pocket money by umpiring after school and on weekends.
They come from a range of backgrounds, including Argentinian, Sudanese, South Sudanese, Ethiopian, Ugandan, Burundian, Tanzanian and Guinean.
The academy has partnered with the Stephen Michael Foundation, an organisation that helps young people become valued members of the community regardless of gender, cultural background, or social circumstances.
Foundation coach Darryl Sinclair was thrilled at the prospect of working with CaLD youth and optimistic about opportunities the academy presents to the young people.
“We have conducted two intensive coaching days with the academy which has now resulted in the academy umpires progressing to the West Perth Junior Umpiring Group,” he said.
Academy coordinator Daniel Sherifi said umpires were the face of their sport and had the most exposure in competitions.
“It is extremely important that our new Australians have the same opportunity to take part in Australia’s game and integrate into the Australian lifestyle,” he said.
“Through umpiring, participants can develop fitness, create new friendships and earn money through casual and part-time employment.”
The program, funded by the Office of Multicultural Interests, is open to all multicultural young people, male and female who are 12 to 21 years old.