NYC Newcastle Knight Josh King's ability to juggle an apprenticeship, work fulltime in the mining industry while excelling on the football field has seen him awarded the Hunter TAFE Newcastle Knights Student of the Month Award.
King is studying a Certificate III in Electro Technology, which when complete, will see him become a qualified electrician.
“I wanted to get into the mines somewhere and I thought that being an electrician, there was also the opportunity to expand by going into engineering or going into domestic,” King said.
The NYC Knight lives in Singleton and works at Glencore, one of the mines in the Hunter Valley as a second year apprentice.
King began playing junior football with the Singleton Grey Hounds (just checking that isn't one word) between the ages of 13 and 18.
“I had my first year at the Knights when I was 17 and basically played my juniors up there before joining the NYC,” he said.
King graduated from the Knights’ first High Performance Unit group and has progressed to earn a run on spot in the Under 20s.
A major highlight for the young Knight was making his debut with the Club with the U20s team.
“That was exciting and this year being a starting front rower has been pretty fun aswell,” the young prop said.
Coach Troy Pezet describes the promising forward as a hard worker who is diligent in his preparation.
King is focused on becoming the strongest player he can be, but also maintains career goals based on his study.
This involves meticulous planning and organisation to ensure he’s prepared for commitments with work, football and TAFE each week,
“It can be tough, and living in Singleton, it’s a bit of a trek down here as well,” he said.
“I have to always be on the ball and organised to make sure I have my training gear packed and work things packed the night before, but it’s manageable and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’d like to be able to finish my apprenticeship, and depending on what happens with other things, then go and do my engineering degree depending what happens with footy."
He believes teamwork and the ability to work efficiently with other people, skills honed on the football field, have proved valuable to his study and employment.
“As far as work and footy, I have to be punctual and on time and always being in uniform," King acknowledged.
“Footy isn’t a sure thing and doesn’t happen for everyone, you need a back up plan can’t just have nothing.
“Even if you do make the big time in footy, you don’t play until your 50 or 60 years of age. Your career is over by the time you’re 35 years old, so you still have another 20 years of working to go.
“It’s important to have something to fall back on.”
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.