St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team lock Abraham Atallah explains the benefits of being involved in the “Trade up with the NRL” program.

The local Shellharbour Sharks junior is presently enrolled in TAFE and in his second year as an electrical apprentice having previously completed his pre-apprenticeship course last year.

The “Trade up with the NRL” program is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Package.

The focus of the program is to increase the retention and completion rates of Australian Apprentices particularly those involved in Rugby League. (currently 47% completion across all industries).

There are currently over 350 apprentices approximately across the 15 Australian NRL Clubs who have signed up to the mentoring program.

This includes players from the NRL, NYC, NSW Cup, SG Ball Cup and Harold Matthews Cup.

Additionally, there are currently 25 Apprentice Mentors across the 15 Australian NRL Clubs many of whom are current or recently retired NRL players.

Mentors must have had experience in a rugby league environment (NRL) and must have started or completed a trade or similar relevant experience.

All mentors have undergone training relevant to this program including mentor training, Certificate 4 in Career Development and a Mental Health First Aid Certificate.

They draw on their experience along with relevant training and a range of strategies to assist the apprentice complete and achieve their goals.

They can also assist in building greater relationships between employers, Clubs staff, training groups, parents and the apprentices. 

Club mentors will meet with apprentices at an arranged time to help set goals, discuss any workplace issues and to provide support for the apprentice.