Queanbeyan's NYC Raiders set career goals

THEY are the three Queanbeyan Kangaroos players in search of Canberra Raiders stardom, but for Brett Soloman, Jed Pearce and Josh Baker, it is important to look at life away from the footy field.

Along with Queanbeyan Blues Canberra Raiders under 20's representatives Jake Wheeler and Trent Schuback, each young man is completeing an apprenticeship under the National Rugby League's Trade Up program that works to put National Youth League players in occupations that compliment their fulltime rugby league committments.

Baker is not part of the program, but is completing a Certificate IV in fitness and the Canberra Institute of Technology, as part of the Raiders NYC study program where players complete their work with club education staff at Raiders HQ.

The Queanbeyan apprentices, along with 20 others at the Raiders, met with club legend Alan Tongue, Raiders Welfare and Education Manager David Thom and Raiders Apprentice Mentor Brett White on Monday night to plan their goals in their work at the same time as playing good football.

Baker said preparing for life either after footy or as an alternative was important for the lifestyle of young players.

"My fall back option would be to be a personal trainer and eventually own my own business," said Baker.

"I finished my Cert III last year...If I wasn't playing or training I'd be studying most of the time, and I got it done pretty quick as I did it through the Raiders."

Remarkably, Baker balances his football and study life with shift work at two gyms.

Soloman works as an airconditioning apprentice, Pearce is an electrician, while Wheeler works as a plumber and Schuback is a business trainee.

"It's a bit like going back to school, but it's got to be done," said Baker.

Periodically the Queanbeyan boys will meet with White and Thom to check their progress.

Both White and Tongue completed apprenticeships of their own as young men.

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