The career of a professional rugby league player rarely lasts past the age of 36.
And gaps in their CVs, which widen while playing professionally, can make it difficult to find a well paid job after retirement from the game.
That’s why Huddersfield Giants have teamed up with Kirklees Construction and Skills Academy (KCSA), Leeds Road, to offer players courses they can sandwich into their sporting careers.
Some of the players have already signed up.
The course was the brainchild of KCSA co-director and league fan Clinton Stringer.
Clinton said: “KCSA has followed and supported the Huddersfield Giants for some time.
“Through talking to the players and their managing director, Richard Thewlis, it became apparent that there was a need and interest for them to develop skills to progress into careers if there came a day when their rugby careers came to an end.
“Colleges can’t offer as flexible a course as we can because of players’ training and playing commitments.”
Co-director Helen Balfour added: “It seems to appeal to players; the physiques they have matches the construction industry and a lot of them do really well.”
Once the players complete their BTEC diploma in construction they can progress towards starting their own businesses or teaching construction skills.
Four Giants – Chris Bailey, Brett Ferres, Larne Patrick and Kyle Wood – have started courses in joinery.
Australian Chris, who plays forward for the Giants, said: “I was an average student at school. I did enough to get by because I was more interested in sport but I was interested in woodwork too.
“I worked as a tiler before I turned pro and I’ve always been around the building industry.
“The course has been really good; I’ve learnt a lot and KCSA has been great in fitting it around our training.
“I can see myself with a joinery business and even if I don’t, I will be a little bit more handy around the house.”