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Sports education pathway tackles youth mental health

EDUCATION PATHWAY: Sportstek Academies ambassador Petero Civoniceva gives a presentation to LeagueTek students.
EDUCATION PATHWAY: Sportstek Academies ambassador Petero Civoniceva gives a presentation to LeagueTek students. Contributed

SCHOOL SPORT: Sportstek Academies are set to bring their acclaimed education program to the Clarence Valley as they look to give our future sports stars an alternate education pathway.

After hearing of the youth mental health plight of the Clarence Valley, Sportstek believed they could make a difference and chose the region to be only the third location in NSW to host an academy program.

The alternate education pathway aimed at school leavers aged 16 and above next year focusses on fostering sporting prowess in athletes while also providing the building blocks to a successful future.

The programs - split into a 10 month or 18 month option - allow young people to focus on bettering themselves in their chosen sport while also earning a Diploma of Business and Certificate III in Fitness through their studies.

Sportstek Academies are planning to bring their renowned Leaguetek program to the Clarence while also potentially starting up a Hockeytek program based on local support.

Sportstek Academies founder and executive director Rachel Crawford and Leaguetek executive director Gary Woodford were in the Clarence earlier this week to conduct the first round of interviews with potential Sportstek students.

"It is an idea of getting students fitter, faster and stronger in their chosen sport while also giving them social and emotional health and to give them those educational pathways," Woodford said.

"It is an alternate educational path where the students want to be there and want to learn."

Sportstek are in negotiations to find a suitable facility for the program in the Clarence and with six students already signed up for 2017 the signs are looking positive.

Woodford said the ability to give students a chance to go to the 'next level' in their sport while also not taking them from their home town was a driving factor behind the program launching here.

"We want to keep kids in their family base because family is everything I believe," he said. "If they can still train out of here, give back to their local community and make their local community a stronger place - I think that just makes sense."

With former Queensland and Australian representative rugby league star Petero Civoniceva on board as program ambassador Sportstek will be hoping he can share the message with the Grafton community as he will be here when the program kicks off.

To find out more about Sportstek Academies and how to enrol head online to the website.

Topics:  development education mental health