Essendon Football Club, in partnership with RMIT, has appointed former Bomber James Polkinghorne as manager of the Essendon Education Academy (EEA) - the club’s new, innovative education program.

With an AFL career spanning over eight years, Polkinghorne played 101 AFL games including 94 for Brisbane and seven for Essendon as a top-up player during the 2016 season.

Along with his AFL experience, Polkinghorne will bring a wealth of marketing experience - most recently through senior marketing and content management roles - to the EEA.

Under Polkinghorne’s guidance, EEA students will complete a dual diploma in Business and Leadership & Management, which includes 100 hours of real-life work experience across Essendon’s various departments and partner networks.

The EEA will be based at the NEC Hangar, giving participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in a world-class, high-performance environment, and learn from industry experts.

Polkinghorne said he was excited to return to the Bombers and help the next generation of students work towards successful careers in elite sport.

“The opportunity to join Essendon Football Club and contribute to the Essendon Education Academy was extremely appealing to me; not only to assist our students as they kick start or progress their careers in elite sport but also to bring value to the longstanding history of this great club,” Polkinghorne said.

“I’m particularly excited by the opportunity to work closely with RMIT to create a purpose-driven experience for our students, all from the state-of-the-art NEC Hangar.”

The incorporation of work experience into the program is something Polkinghorne said would be beneficial for participants, for when they move into the work force or on to further study.  

“The chance to simultaneously align 100 hours of vocational work placement alongside a dual diploma of Business, Leadership & Management is a tremendous vehicle that allows you to implement your coursework in real-time, gaining unique exposure while building meaningful connections - two elements that will help students’ careers take off,” Polkinghorne said.

“I believe this program provides a magnitude of opportunity and exposure as our students integrate into different areas of the club and immerse themselves in the Essendon Football Club’s fabric.”

Click here to learn more about the EEA. Applications are open and can be submitted through the EEA website.