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From intern to full-time employee with Golf Australia

Securing a full-time job with Golf Australia wasn’t what Abby Freney expected when she began an internship as part of her Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science/Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) at Deakin University.

‘I had no idea when I began my internship that I would still be working for Golf Australia one year later,’ she says.

Health and fitness was always a passion for Abby, and she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the industry.

‘I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do for work after year 12, so I decided on the double degree hoping it would provide a pathway to a range of different careers,’ Abby recalls.

As with many Deakin courses, Abby’s final year of study included a practical component. Despite not knowing very much about golf to begin with, Abby embraced the opportunity of an internship with Golf Australia and hasn’t looked back since.

New opportunities to work with industry professionals

Abby’s biggest takeaway from her internship with Golf Australia was how closely she worked with industry professionals.

‘I really valued being closely mentored by such an experienced professional in the industry,’ she says. ‘I also recognised how great of an opportunity it was to be working with a national sporting body at the start of my career while I was still studying.’

While her internship began with a mix of day-to-day tasks, she was soon getting involved in major projects.

‘My role at the beginning of my internship was predominately administration based, assisting to set up meetings and diary management for the general manager of Places to Play at Golf Australia,’ she explains.

This then led to Abby assisting in larger projects allowing her to gain a greater insight into how the organisation functions.

‘I also then assisted with planning key projects like Places to Play Roundtable events across Australia and researching best practices internationally amongst sport clubs and facilities including on digital and social media channels as well as attending key meetings with major stakeholders.’

From interning at Golf Australia to becoming a full-time staff member

At the start of her internship, Abby’s golf knowledge was minimal, but this was a challenge she embraced.

‘I took on the challenge of working in an industry I did not know much about,’ she says. ‘Once I began to learn more about the sport and the role I started to really enjoy the work within the business.’

This is where her course at Deakin started to pay off. Abby couldn’t speak more highly of completing a double degree due to the variety of opportunities provided.

‘I started to realise that a lot of my skills were transferable in the work I was doing. There were various units that I studied as part of my double degree that gave me the confidence and skills to apply for my current role at Golf Australia.’

Abby credits having a well-written resume and a strong network on LinkedIn when it came to being offered the role. But it was the practical experience gained in her internship that sealed the deal.

‘Completing an internship in sport management gave me the practical skills required for working in a full-time role. I would not be in my role if I did not have the opportunity to complete the internship last year,’ she says.

Embracing opportunities for real-world learning

Abby believes ‘there’s no better way to learn than in real-world environments’ so encourages all students to immerse themselves in internships and placements. As Abby found, entering an industry you’re not familiar with can be really rewarding.

‘Challenge yourself to be different and complete an internship in a sport you don’t know much about,’ she recommends. ‘You learn so much every day and your presence will always be valued as someone that is new to the respective sport.’

While her career has just started, Abby is excited to embrace the learning opportunities working in sport can provide.

‘The next five years will be a journey of learning for me. I am still so early in my career, so I still have so much to uncover and I hope to continue to progress in my role.

‘The best part about working in sport is there are so many opportunities for progression and lots of different areas to explore.’

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