HIA is the national industry association for Australian building professionals, representing the interests of the housing industry in developing an apprentice’s skills.

NSW BDR/Field Officer HIA Apprentices, Adrian Whitney, says the apprenticeship mentoring program was established to provide a pathway for Rugby League players looking to pursue careers on the tools both during, and after, their playing days.

“It was set up to create career opportunities for those looking to work in the construction industry. It’s a one-stop-shop for NRL clubs, to be able to contact someone like HIA,” said Whitney.

“We liaise with the clubs in regards to their training programs and making sure we’re placing them with a relevant host that can co-operate with their training commitments.

“The people looking to obtain carpentry, plumbing and electrical apprenticeships; they come through our interview process and we find them employment in the industry.”

While the Sharks’ ties with the HIA remain relatively new, Whitney praised the interest and involvement of the Cronulla players in helping to ensure the program’s successes to date.

“We’ve got four apprentices with the Sharks – Harrison Muller, Tepa Fuiava, Thomas Levi and Jack Williams,” he said.

“I’d definitely say it’s been successful, and I’d have to say Cronulla has been the biggest participator.”

Three of the four young Sharks are currently with the NYC team, while Williams is a member of the under-18 Cronulla SG Ball squad.

Although the HIA places an emphasis on working with younger players, the program also offers the opportunity for current first graders to obtain nationally-accredited trade skills.

“It’s about helping the NRL and all the clubs to be able to provide not only a healthy playing environment, but also to help provide a career pathway,” said Whitney.

“We’ve also got training courses that help provide First Grade players, who are still playing full-time, obtain nationally accredited courses.

“We’re all about helping these guys have a back-up career, and helping them achieve it.”

For more information about HIA apprenticeships and the club’s relationship with the association, visit the HIA stall at Remondis Stadium before Monday night’s clash with the Rabbitohs on what is a special Tradies Round.

Note: Sharks Corporate Partner Coates Hire is the match day sponsor for this weekend’s Tradies Round when the Sharks take on Souths.

Go to www.coateshire.com.au  and click on the Sharks icon, or go to the link below for more information and to access the code to take advantage of a special Coates Hire 2 for 1 Tradies ticket offer for Monday night’s game.

CLICK HERE to find out more.