Former Melbourne Storm player Bryan Norrie says the NRL's award-winning CareerWise initiative is instrumental for the futures of today's players.
Norrie, who shocked the rugby league world last October when he announced his retirement due to a neck injury, prepared for life after football when he completed an electrician apprenticeship during his football career. Other players haven't been as prepared, which is where the NRL's CareerWise initiative has made a difference.
The CareerWise program has been designed to help individuals improve every facet of their lives. This includes developing skills to manage careers after football as well as factoring in interests, skills and home life.
The program allows and helps players to make well-informed choices about their future career and doesn't discriminate, as it includes players from as young as 15 all the way through to the game's elite.
According to Norrie, the program is going from strength to strength.
"NRL CareerWise wasn't available when I was a young fella coming through the grades but it is phenomenal what's available now to the players," Norrie told NRL.com.
"There's a lot of support there to help them find what they want to do and assist with them getting through it, so it's going really well.
"The NRL has been really supportive and there is also funding available for players now to assist with their course costs and studies, so it's a really beneficial program."
Norrie, an NRL One Community ambassador who assists with the NRL Education and Welfare side of things, is also doing his part to help boost the potency of the program moving forward.
"I'm actually an apprentice mentor at the moment with the CareerWise program and I've been involved in a few presentations of it," Norrie said.
"I thoroughly enjoy that side of things and I love being involved with it because there's a lot going on for a young footballer and I like being involved if I can help them think of another career away from football."
Norrie, a clearly busy man, also plays his part at his former Melbourne Storm club where he is still involved in numerous off-field capacities involving the playing group.
The 178-game NRL veteran said he is doing his best, along with the Storm's Education and Welfare department, to encourage the club's younger players coming through to partake in the CareerWise program.
Norrie also revealed the promising success story of young Storm back-rower Dean Britt – the son of Bulldogs legend Darren.
"There is a great group of blokes who focus on education and welfare at the Storm in Brian Phelan, Peter Robinson and Andrew Blowers. They are very good at what they do and they are able to promote this program," Norrie said.
"If they have a presentation then I like to jump in and be involved too. I definitely promote CareerWise to all the young blokes. I suppose being a bit older and having finished up my apprenticeship, I realise how important it is to have a second career path after football.
"We have a phenomenal young kid named Dean Britt at the Storm who has now only just started full-time training this year and he's in our reserve grade teams playing some great football. Dean's only 21 and he's already a qualified carpenter.
"I think there will be a lot more of that now considering NRL CareerWise is in place."
Click here for more information on NRL CareerWise