After years as a professional footballer, Michael Barlow felt lost and directionless.

“I’m trying to figure out what direction my life should take,” he told a gathering of youths involved in The Huddle’s Game Changers program in Wyndham.

Barlow began his career in the VFL with Werribee, before being selected as a mature-age rookie by Fremantle with pick 8 in 2010. He went on to play 126 games for the Dockers, and a further 15 with the Gold Coast.

At the end of 2018, he was delisted and at 31, forced to ponder the next phase of his life.

“I’m a bit like you all …  But what I encourage you all to do, is to just try new things,” he continued.

“Do some work experience, ask questions, talk to people.”

Those in attendance are hoping to gain employment, and Barlow’s words of wisdom hit a chord.

“It made me feel better that he’s in his thirties and still not quite sure what he wants to do,” one student told North Media.

“So many times I feel like I need to know exactly what I’m doing, so I feel better.”

Thanks to the program, students could find their career pathway in just a short amount of time.

The six week employment program is breaking new ground with sessions focusing on career readiness and employment networking sessions, while incorporating AFL for the benefits of teamwork, communication, and  knowledge of careers in the sporting industry.

And since its inception three years ago thanks to partners Victoria Police, Rotary Club Werribee, Proven Group, Werribee Football Club and the Victorian Government, the outcomes have been phenomenal with several students finding meaningful and fulfilling work.

The biggest question of course; “What do you want to be?”

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