The partnership offers over 70 work-integrated learning places annually in psychology, social work, youth work, exercise physiology and other disciplines. Students contribute to program delivery, planning and evaluation across the WBCF offerings.
In addition to the offerings listed below, VU students and staff also contribute to research and other collaborative projects.
The Western Bulldogs GOAL Mentoring program is a free, dynamic mentoring program for young African Australians aged 13-15 years old, living in Melbourne’s West.
The 10-session program aims to create social capital in connecting young people with successful AFL players, AFLW players and community mentors from the broader western Melbourne community, both African and non-African. The focus of this program is on a mentoring approach to support participants’ personal development and goal setting.
The Western Bulldogs’ Nallei-Jerring (join and unite) Koori Youth Leadership Project aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, by providing opportunities through the Western Bulldogs as a way of encouraging leadership within the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Western Bulldogs Football Club is used as a vehicle to inspire, educate and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to become future leaders in Victoria's West Aboriginal community. The young people are provided with an exciting range of life, cultural and sport experiences in which to learn and develop from. The Nallei Jerring program offers practical- and theory-based activities designed to enhance young people with cultural knowledge, leadership, teamwork, resilience, communication, support networks and connection to community.
Leaders of the Pack
Leaders of the Pack is a 10-week leadership program offered to youth from multicultural backgrounds to build connections, foster leadership potential and contribute to positive community change. It consists of fun workshops where participants learn about different education and employment pathways. They also participate in a Western Bulldogs sports program.
Sons of the West & Daughters of the West programs
These gender-sensitised, health promotion programs combine physical activity with psychoeducation in an inviting, inclusive social environment.
The programs each attract about 500 participants annually, appealing to mostly middle-aged men and women who are typically reluctant to engage in more traditional health promotion programs. Participants come together once a week for two hours in venues close to their home across seven local government areas in Melbourne’s west.
The programs operate in partnership with local councils and other health-related organisations. Community embeddedness contributes to the programs' success.
Education topics encompass physical, mental and social wellbeing and include traditional health topics such as cancer screening, nutrition and challenging alcohol culture. Discussions also cover social inclusion and challenging behaviours and attitudes that contribute to gender inequity and family violence. The sessions incorporate lived-experience speakers who are very relatable and model openness and help seeking.
Youth Leadership Project
The Western Bulldogs Leadership Project offers unique opportunities for young people to build confidence, make new friends and develop skills that will enable them to become leaders in their community.
The Leadership Project guides local young people through practical- and theory-based activities designed to enhance their capacities in leadership, teamwork, communication, goal setting and resilience, empowering them to contribute and grow as leaders in their community.