Cleary the Curator: How the ACA’s Internship Program is helping players secure full-time employment

31 March, 2021
The ACA Internship Program is an example of how current players are funding initiatives to benefit fellow members and strengthen the game.

An internship opportunity provided by the Australian Cricketers’ Association has led to full-time employment for Piepa Cleary.

The 24-year-old embarked upon a 380-hour turf management and curating internship with the WACA via the ACA, from which she secured permanent employment at Perth’s Kent Street State High School.

It’s now been one year since Cleary began working at Kent Street, and she says it was the ACA that helped her take that next step to propel her career and passion away from the field.

ACA Internship open
ACA Internship open for members

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), in partnership with Cricket Australia and state organisations nationally, is offering five, paid sport administration internships for ACA members looking to develop their careers.

“Without the internship, there's no way I would have found a proper job outside of school. I didn't know anything before I started the internship, I just knew I was really interested in turf management. So, to be able to do that for six to eight months, and learn enough to do an actual job outside was awesome. Thanks to the ACA for the Internship Program.”

Every season, the ACA advertises paid internship positions for members looking to develop their careers away from the field. The program has been made possible through funds donated by the current players, and through partnerships with state cricket organisations nationally.

Cleary says her passion for curating began at a young age as she started getting into cricket and was prompted by her Western Australian Player Development Manager to apply for the role when it became available. While learning her trade on some of Australia’s most renown wickets, including the WACA and Optus Stadium, Cleary was able to gain the essential experience and skills required for the job.

“I just find turf management really satisfying and something I’ve always wanted to get into. I like getting a pitch up and ready and then actually playing a game on it and seeing a result. I find it quite satisfying. So, to be able to do that over the last couple of years, has been really good.

“I basically learned everything through the WACA. The guys and the girls there are awesome. They have a lot of knowledge and they’ve been doing it for so many years. So, to see how they do it, in each of their different ways, was really interesting. I learned so much through them and I’ve been able to take that back with me and continue learning. I also go back to a couple of the curators I’m close with and ask some little questions if I need help or advice on things.”

The advantage of the ACA’s Internship Program is the flexibility it provides current players to juggle both cricket and work at the same time. It also offers players an avenue to upskill themselves while on contract with an eye on a post-cricket career.

ACA internships
Simon Branston | Marvel Stadium Curator

Meet Simon Branston, Cricket Curator at Marvel Stadium 🏟

After coming off contract with Western Australia, an internship with the Australian Cricketers' Association helped him pursue his career & passion beyond cricket.

“It was honestly just the best opportunity that came up. It couldn't have really worked out any better for me to be honest. It just fitted in with cricket.”

“I definitely want to have some options and this is hopefully one option for me after cricket. And while playing cricket, it's really nice to have something else. I don't think I could just do cricket because, I probably wouldn’t actually enjoy it that much. So, to be able to have something else on the side, and the hours quite flexible, works really well.

With the Australian domestic season wrapping up, Cleary has been able to take her skills acquired through the ACA’s Internship Program abroad. An opening at Loughborough University became available over the English Summer thanks to a contact in the United Kingdom. The quick will also be lining up for Lancashire during the 2021 season.

ACA commits $3 million to support players through 2020/21 and 2021/22

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has agreed on a range of measures with Cricket Australia that will see $3 million invested into supporting players through a summer that continues to meet the challenges posed by the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Cleary spoke highly of the ACA services before departing for England and how she’s been assisted over her cricketing journey.

“As female cricketers in particular, we know there's so many avenues to go down which the ACA offers us. I know little things with the education grants the ACA provides is obviously a massive support and really helps us all out. Anything we need, there's always someone there to point us in the right direction. And it's the same thing with this internship. I think there's a lot of them that pop up every season, and they're great opportunities for everyone as a member to get involved with and do something away from cricket.”

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