Recently retired Newcastle Knights lock, Matt Hilder was announced as Hunter TAFE’s Knights 2014 Student of The Year on Friday.
Hilder is currently completing a plumbing apprenticeship at Hunter TAFE as part of his off-field commitments, which will help his transition from professional rugby league into the workforce after announcing his retirement.
“Winning this award is a big surprise, I was just really fortunate to be able to study while I was playing for the Knights,” Hilder said.
“I really appreciate how Hunter TAFE and the Knights assisted me in completing my study, which now allows me to focus on my next stage after retiring from football.”
Newcastle Knight’s CEO, Matt Gidley said that the research shows athletes who balance sport, work and play consistently, perform better, have longer sporting careers and have a positive and productive outlook on life.
“More balanced people make happier and more successful athletes,” he said.
Also today, 15 of the 2015 Newcastle Knights Under 20 recruits graduated from a week-long intensive Hunter TAFE Playwise program. The group were the first Knights players to graduate from the program on Friday.
The pilot program is an initiative between Hunter TAFE, Newcastle Knights and the NRL which supports the League’s goal of turning talented boys into men of character and integrity. The first of its kind in the region, the program delivers critical and professional life skills to new recruits and aims to facilitate pathways to further work and study opportunities.
Hunter TAFE General Manager, External Relations and Customer Service, Samantha Martin-Williams said the new pilot program was a great addition to the programs developed in partnership with the Newcastle Knights.
“This is the first time we have run the Playwise program and with great success,”
“It’s an important addition to the programs we offer the Knights and we are always looking for new ways to support the NRL’s Leaguewise welfare and education programs,” she said.
“It is players like Matt Hilder, our Knights/Hunter TAFE Student of the Year, who understand the value and importance of skills education that provide an excellent example for other elite athletes, students and school aged children,’" said Martin-Williams.