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Jaz prepares for Touch World Cup

The countdown to the Touch World Cup has well and truly kicked in for TAFE Queensland student Jazmin "Jaz" Macdonald, who will be representing Papua New Guinea at the tournament.

"I am excited; I can't wait to represent Papua New Guinea in the World Cup and put a smaller country on the global stage in a competition of this size - it's going to be a great challenge," Jaz said.

Having always played netball, Jaz discovered the fast pace and intensity of touch while at high school in Redcliff. After falling in love with the sport, she quickly joined a competitive league and improved her game.

"In year seven, I could barely catch a ball. But the more I played, the more I kept growing and enjoying it - touch is my thing."

Playing for Papua New Guinea in the Queensland All Nations Annual Touch Festival in 2020, Jaz was selected to travel to the Island nation and trial against local players before being selected for the World Cup, which has special meaning for her.

"My dad passed away in November, so I have extra motivation to represent where he and my grandma were born on the big stage of the World Cup."

"I'm proud to represent my country and heritage - I want to do my best and make my family and country proud by making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The 2024 Touch World Cup is the largest ever, with teams from 39 nations playing over six days in Nottingham, United Kingdom, this July.

While her immediate focus is on performing at the World Cup, Jaz is also developing a career in coaching, studying with 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.

"When I found this course, I knew it would be perfect for me, and being delivered through TAFE Queensland and at the Broncos headquarters is a big plus," Jaz said.

Studying the Diploma of Sport and Diploma of Leadership and Management (SIS50321/BSB50420), Jaz's confidence has soared, and she's already facilitating woman-in-touch programs with Queensland Touch.

"I'm developing basic skills in players of all ages who are new to touch by taking what I learn at TAFE to coach with Queensland Touch or Redcliffe Touch, where I'm coaching 14 and 16 girls for the junior state cup."

"I'm learning emotional intelligence, which is very feedback-based, and I ask for player feedback at the end of every session to find out what they enjoyed and what I can do better, which helps me grow."

"I also run gym fitness classes and love helping people through sport, so I want a job where I'm constantly learning and improving. I enjoy waking up, going to work and using my knowledge to help people."

Jaz studies using Fee-Free TAFE funding as part of the Queensland Government's Good People. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032.

It aims to connect, educate, and attract the people needed to meet the state's workforce demand in existing and new industry sectors and support continued economic growth.

With approximately 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education and training places available in 2024, the program will support Queenslanders to skill up to meet the state's current and future workforce needs by enabling them to complete selected qualifications at no or low cost.

Training for 12 months in an immersive and condensed learning environment, Jaz and her class participate in 100 hours of work-integrated learning across the Brisbane Broncos.

"I enjoyed the game development clinics I did with the NRLW players. It was fun and hands-on, and I learned a lot."

Her teachers, Grant Dwyer, Graham Lesson, and Expo Mejia, bring a wealth of industry experience to the classroom, with the support of Brisbane Broncos staff and players providing invaluable professional insights and expertise.

"Studying at the Clive Berghofer Centre and being connected to the Broncos organisation is inspirational. They share their professional experiences, and it's reassuring to know I'm on the right track," she explained.

"My teachers are coaches and bring so much real-life experience to the classroom to help and support me to succeed, which is awesome. It’s also great being around like-minded classmates – we all support each other, and I’ve made so many friends; I'm thriving here."

With the support of the teachers, Broncos staff, and classmates, Jaz confidently balances her studies, volunteering and work commitments as her confidence and skills grow.

While looking forward to playing at the World Cup, she’s also excited about her future career.

"This course provides a perfect environment that balances theory and practical learning, and I highly recommend doing this program in such an amazing facility," concluded Jaz.