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Abby goes from the beach to the Broncos

When accomplished beach handball player Abby Mills isn’t competing overseas, she’s home in Brisbane, preparing herself for life after sport with TAFE Queensland.

After being introduced to the sport by her sister as a teenager, Abby competed in handball for several years. She was recently selected to represent Australia at China's Beach Handball World Championships.

“Handball is a unique mixture of many different sports, and I like that it incorporates various skills that I’ve learnt through other sports throughout my life,” explained Abby.

With beach handball growing in popularity and possible inclusion at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, Abby has set herself the goal of becoming an Olympian and competing for glory on the world stage.

As the sport is still in its infancy, Abby is focused on playing at the highest level and helping to grow and develop the next generation of players through coaching, which brought her to TAFE Queensland.

“When I’ve finished being an athlete, I want to repurpose my knowledge to work in the developmental side of the sport because it’s an area that has struggled with. So, helping to progress beach handball in Australia to attract and coach the next generation of handball players interests me,” she said.

Abby’s pathway to making her favourite sport her career was made easier thanks to the path offered by the Brisbane Broncos Sport Business Institute. Powered by TAFE Queensland, the unique program provides students access to elite high-performance facilities and key industry experts in sports and entertainment.

“I’ve always been a Broncos supporter, and when I found this course, I knew it would be perfect for me, especially as it’s through TAFE Queensland as I’ve tried university, but it wasn't for me. This course is working perfectly for me, and studying at the Broncos is a big plus,” Abby said.

Studying both the Diploma of Sport and Diploma of Leadership and Management (SIS50321 / BSB50420), Abby enjoys the hands-on and work-integrated learning she receives at the Broncos' world-class headquarters.

Abby’s theoretical learning is supported by 100 hours of real-life work experience provided across various departments across the Brisbane Broncos club, providing invaluable professional insights and expertise.

Based in the Bronco’s elite sport facilities in Red Hill, her teachers bring a wealth of sports industry experience to the diplomas course and deliver the course content in a sporting context, with the support of Brisbane Broncos staff and players providing invaluable professional insights and expertise.

“The fact that we’re studying at the Clive Berghofer Centre and hearing from the people behind the Broncos is inspirational. They tell us how they got to where they are now and share their experiences working in the sports industry, and it’s reassuring to know I’m on the same trajectory,” she explained.

“Even though we're not officially part of the Broncos, we feel like we’re a part of the team. We walk past all the players, and we’re accepted into the organisation. It's nice to walk into the building, in our kit and be amongst people with the same shirt on, all working toward the same goal.”

Her TAFE Queensland teachers and classmates complement her learning by further supporting and encouraging each other to succeed in a personable way.

“The classes are small, and our teachers know us personally and help us achieve what we want. My TAFE teachers and the Broncos staff support me, which is a big plus because I need that support.”

Abby’s teachers, Grant Dwyer, Graham Lesson and Expo Mejia, check in to ensure she's on track with her assessments and offer extra help if needed.

“They bring so much experience and industry connections to the classroom. They're also very good at linking the theory and the practical while mentoring and guiding us through the course. My classmates are also great because we're all like-minded, connected, and supportive of each other.”

With the support of the teachers, Broncos staff, and classmates, Abby confidently balances her studies and sporting commitments as her confidence grows, and she’s looking forward to playing beach handball at the highest level before pivoting to coaching.

“This course is working out a lot better than any other pathway I’ve explored. It’s a much more practical environment than a sit-down, study, and write these exams and assignments. So, I highly recommend doing this program in such an amazing facility,” concluded Abby.