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The St George Illawarra Dragons were involved with  the Playwise Training Program aimed at preparing rookie players for life after football on Thursday.

The two-day intensive program, run in conjunction with both TAFE Illawarra and the NRL, provided valuable onsite training and education expertise aimed at the new members of the Club’s National Youth Competition squad.

The Young Dragons had nine players from their ranks involved in several sessions across a variety of career areas including Carpentry, Painting and Decorating, Hospitality and Community Services.

“The Playwise Training Program has given me the opportunity to tryout different career options including carpentry and hospitality which I had not previously considered,” said Young Dragons centre Matheson Johns.

“All the players benefitted from the two-day event as it opened up different career avenues for each of us to consider for life after footy and allowed us to have our questions answered by professions then and there.”

One such advisor available to answer these questions was former rugby league player Brett McCroary, who played semi-professionally for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in addition to playing in England.

He is now a full time TAFE teaches of Carpentry and Building and explained the rewards he is now reaping after deciding to pursue an apprenticeship at an early age.

“From my time in football, I know of many players who made lots of money, but when they finished football lost direction and blew it all,” said McCroary.

“It may be a cliché, but it happens.

“I offered an introduction to Carpentry and Building, with emphasis on the pathways available to get into the trade, so that the players had some information to consider after their football careers.”

The aim of the program was to support the holistic development of young rugby league players within the NYC system by helping them navigate through various employment pathways from school.

the players completed a literacy and numeracy assessment

In addition to the seminars, the Young Dragons members also completed a literacy and numeracy assessment.

TAFE NSW Illawarra Relieving Head Teacher of Adult Basic Education Cheryl Hales supervised the players while teacher Peter Bradbury delivered the overall program.

“It is very vocationally oriented, so these young men come out more equipped than when they began,” said Hales.