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NYC squad member Bradie Smith has been named the Newcastle Knights/Hunter TAFE Student of the Month Award after successfully balancing his aspirations on the football field while completing a Certificate III in Carpentry.

Smith is the first recipient of the award that has been introduced to recognise players who have excelled both on and off the field.

The partnership between Hunter TAFE and The Newcastle Knights has seen the organisations develop an ongoing program to assist players to access training while managing professional football commitments.

Hunter TAFE has worked closely with the Club to develop the High Performance Sports Hub at the Newcastle Campus that includes a range of facilities that enable the players to both study and train.

Nineteen-year-old Smith began his study in 2012 and completed the trade certificate over three years attending class one day a week while working the rest of the week with a local builder in Singleton.

All the while, the Stanthorpe Gremlin junior has dedicated himself to progressing through the Knights' junior development system.

“NYC is pretty flexible. They like to help you with TAFE work and studying while training,” Smith said.

After completing his Certificate III in Carpentry, Smith has chosen to build on his education by embarking on a Certificate IV in Clerk of Work.

"It's basically the next level up and just allows you to further your knowledge in the building industry and do a bit more work," he added.

While making the most of his football career is on the top of his priority list, he believes it's important to have a Plan B. 

“You have to have something to go back to and I have my trade so that's something to fall back on.”

"To own my own business and continue on with my Cert IV would definitely be a goal.

“It's good to have something else to do outside of footy and something else to keep me occupied."

Monthly winners will be presented throughout the season with a Hunter TAFE Student of the Year award announced at the end of the year.

Newcastle Knight Matt Hilder (retired) was the inaugural winner of the Hunter TAFE Student of the Year after his ability to balance his footy career with finishing his trade.