Senator Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Education and Training and MP Karen Andrews, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.

NRL teams up with Federal Government to support National Skills Week

The NRL has teamed up with the Federal Government to support the Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors program and celebrate the sixth National Skills Week this week.

Canberra Raiders legend and automotive mechanic by trade, Alan Tongue, joined former Kangaroos and Blues representative Brett White and Government Ministers in Canberra today to support the Apprenticeships Ambassadors program, one of hundreds of events taking place across Australia this week in support of National Skills Week.

There are currently 85 NRL and NYC players studying to complete a trade, with 20 players due to complete a trade this year, including Ray Thompson from the Cowboys (plumber), Peni Terepo from the Eels (butcher), and Nathan Friend from the Titans (bricklayer) to name a few.

"When I first moved to Canberra to play footy, I knew I needed a back-up plan in case things didn't work out," Tongue said.

"Although it was a juggle to manage my football and study, it actually benefited my football career as a lot of the disciplines that I learnt through studying for my trade transferred onto the footy field.  

"My study and my apprenticeship gave me stability and confidence that I did have a job to go to and a qualification for life after rugby league."

Since 2013, the NRL has been mentoring and supporting players in studying to complete apprenticeships and trades via the 'Trade Up' program, run in conjunction with Federal and State Government bodies.  

The program focuses on industry trends, working with players to achieve a balance between work and football and calls on the experience and learnings from former players who have studied and completed a trade to support players currently studying.  

In support of the week, current and former NRL stars have shared their stories online about their trades and their experiences in studying and preparing for a future after rugby league, no matter what level is achieved.

Apprenticeships Ambassador videos:

Ben Spina - Cowboys
David Tyrrell - Rabbitohs
Anthony Quinn - Knights
Bryan Norrie - Storm
Brad Meyers - Titans
Gavin Lester - Roosters
Sam Moa - Roosters
Jason Clarke - Rabbitohs
Adam Brideson - Broncos
Matt Ballin - Wests Tigers
Luke Covell - Sharks
Steve Lavers - Wests Tigers
Chris Armit - Panthers