The NRL have recently employed a young and influential player within their administration. Patrice Siolo, who currently plays for Newtown in the VB NSW Cup, and in 2014 played NRL for the Cronulla Sharks, is working in the Learning Centre at Rugby League Central.
Patrice understands what it takes to make it to the NRL, he's been there. What he also understands is that a Rugby League playing career will not last forever. This is why when he saw an NRL Education Assistant position being advertised, he jumped at it.
"I'm learning as much as I can. Everyday I'm learning a lot from my boss Courtney Mace (NRL Community Programs Manager), she's really helpful and patient with me,' Siolo explains. 'I'm really enjoying my time here and it's been amazing to see what happens behind the scenes of the sport."
Greg Nichols (NSWRL Welfare and Education) is at the forefront of helping players understand that they need to be aware that rugby league careers are often short lived and should be looked upon as a wonderful experience rather than something that's going to set them up for life. He explains to players that preparing an alternative career is imperative.
"Players need to be prepared for life after footy. Even the best players in the game can't continue to play forever and often they can be looking down the barrel of 40 more years in the workforce before they retire. Gaining the necessary qualifications and experience in further career prospects will ensure players are able to transition away from their rugby league careers and into something they enjoy, after hanging up the boots,' Nichols said.
Patrice has already planned his post-football career.
"I really enjoy working with kids, inspiring them and helping them learn is a great feeling. That's the reason I started a Certificate IV in Youth Work. My ultimate goal is to become a fire fighter and I can achieve this by completing my role with the NRL and Certificate IV," Siolo said.
Patrice is an excellent example of someone who is taking initiative for his own future, and with the help of Rugby League, will hopefully reach his dreams.