Brisbane Broncos Prop Mitchell Dodds is a young man who knows the importance of having a back-up plan.
The 26-year-old was on the cusp of the quitting rugby league last year after an injury plagued 16 months which saw him undergo two knee reconstructions. He was all but ready to turn his back on the game and return to his electrical career before Broncos Coach Wayne Bennett gave him a football lifeline.
Mitchell is now back playing first grade but said he has a learned a lesson he wants to share with other aspiring sports people.
“I had always hoped to have a long career in rugby league and never thought I would have back to back knee reconstructions.
‘Having to face the reality that my career might be over was tough, but it would have been a lot more difficult if I didn’t have a trade to fall back on.
“It’s vital for young athletes to have other career options if their sports dreams don’t work out.
“Studying or working can be tough when you are training to become a professional athlete, but when I look back now I can say that completing my electrical apprenticeship was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made.
Mitchell began his electrical apprenticeship after he finished school in 2008 and completed it in 4 years.
He said construction was an ideal industry for anyone looking for long term security.
“When you undertake an apprenticeship you learn skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
“I have confidence knowing that if I get injured again I have an interesting and rewarding career pathway available to me.
“At some point I’d also like to undertake a business course as one day I would like work for myself.
He added that his electrical qualification didn’t just provide financial peace of mind.
“I’ve always really enjoyed the fitness and conditioning aspect of being a footballer.
“It’s nice to know that when football finishes I have a career pathway that will allow me to remain physically active,” he said.
The Brisbane Broncos recently launched a unique partnership with Construction Skill Queensland, the state’s peak body for construction training and skilling.
Through the partnership, young Broncos will be able to access advice and support from CSQ on beginning a career in construction.
Those interested in a career in construction can find out more at www.csq.org.au.
The website has a list of over 70 career options available in the industry, information on beginning an apprenticeship, a calendar of events and industry news.
WATCH MITCHELL DODD'S VIDEO