Bricklaying became Fili Havea’s Second ‘Plan A’ as an NRL Recruit
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NRL player, Fili Havea as Apprentice BricklayerNRL News reported this month on a new development in its scheme to support NRL players with genuine career options after football.  Eden Brae Homes, already a strong advocate of continued learning and development for its team through its Pathways Program, has now become a driving force in making the project of the NRL come to life.

As reported by the NRL News, “Playing football at elite level is tough, with only a minority able to transform their love of the game into a long and lasting career. The NRL has been encouraging players to seek out qualifications and other employment opportunities, mentoring and supporting those who take on apprenticeships and trades as another ‘Plan A’ career path”.

It was a chance discussion between John Hutchinson, Careers and Training Manager for the NRL and Nathan Owens of Eden Brae at a HIA networking event that solidified action on the part of the builder to speak to the Clubs.

The first new apprentice recruit from the NRL to join Eden Brae is 18 year old Fili Havea, who has commenced a bricklaying apprenticeship.  Fili has been with the Bulldogs under-20’s for a couple of years, playing their pre-season round in 2016.  He said of the new job “One of my best mates’ dads is a supervisor with Eden Brae.  I was going to ask him for a job around the same time as the Bulldogs got involved with Pathways. I wanted to do a trade and they offered me a bricklaying apprenticeship, so I didn’t hesitate to jump right in.” Check out the opportunities to become qualified.

Fili told NRL News that the rigorous discipline of football has already helped him in his new career.

“In footy, you have to be disciplined in every way – you can’t make stupid decisions or be lazy on or off the field,” he says. “Your coaches and trainers are on you for everything, and it’s the same with bricklaying.  My boss is always showing me how to do things in a better way; the right way. You have to be disciplined not to react to it as criticism, but see it as someone helping you to be the best you can be.”

As the NRL reports, it was a hard choice to make, but Fili eventually decided not to pursue a career in NRL and is now fully focused on learning his new craft.  Nathan Owens of Eden Brae summarises by saying, “It’s a great outcome whichever way you look at it. Fili explored his opportunity with the NRL to the full and he’s happy he’s made the right decision. And it’s still good news from the NRL’s perspective because they insist their players must have another career option in place in case a career in football doesn’t work out. So, it really is a win all round.”  See the full NRL article

Brendan Coyle
ABBTF Regional Manager

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