Ryan Maquignaz decided to make the switch from carpentry to his real passion – sport and recreation. Now the world is his oyster.

Ryan Maquignaz has always loved basketball.

He started playing from the age of five, and never stopped.

While Ryan no longer plays competitive basketball, he spends most of his free time voluntarily coaching the U16s in the Casey Cavaliers Rep program.

“I love giving back to the sport that moulded friendships and my childhood,” he says. “The opportunities that have developed from being around the sport and the friendships that I’ve made is something that I really like being part of. I like to think I have a breadth of knowledge that I can give back to kids that I wish coaches had given me at that age.”

After finishing high school, Ryan spent five years working as a carpenter, but eventually decided it wasn’t something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

“I always had a passion for sport,” says Ryan. “I’ve always been around basketball my whole life and just decided I wanted a career change.”

Ryan successfully applied for the Chisholm Sports Academy’s basketball program, which helps aspiring athletes to pursue their athletic dreams while also completing their secondary school studies or while pursuing a career in the Sport and Recreation industry at certificate or diploma level.

Participants receive elite-level training and mentorship, working with industry greats such as Brendan Joyce, who served as Head Coach and High Performance Manager of the Australian Women’s National Program – the Opals.

Ryan completed the Diploma of Sport and Recreation Management / Diploma of Sport (Development and Coaching).

During his studies, Ryan spent four days a week studying, and on three of the days he would train for two hours in the morning.

Although study during COVID was challenging Ryan says, “The teachers were readily available to assist students in any way they needed,” he says.

“I enjoyed most of the content this course had to offer, especially the practical assessments we were able to complete. The units delving into the human anatomy and biomechanics also equipped students with appropriate knowledge needed to enter the sport and recreation field.”

Ryan’s hard work was recognised – he was nominated as Vocational Student of the Year at the 2022 Chisholm Education Awards.

After graduating, Ryan also scored a casual job with Global Wellness Tracking, a company that specialises in sports performance testing. He made the connection through the Sports Academy.

Ryan says the Sports Academy opens many different doors and pathways.

“If you want a career in sport and recreation or coaching, I think this is a great stepping-stone while you figure out your strengths and what you want to do,” he says. “This course gives you the opportunity to start networking early. In the sport and rec field, that’s very important.”

Ryan has ambitions to go to America and be involved in basketball coaching over there.

“Any kind of employment around that field would be something that would be very sought after for me,” he says.