“Footy’s not forever”: Broncos player locks in carpentry as plan B

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
4 Min Read

Brisbane Broncos player Cory Paix has revealed that, despite becoming an NRL sporting superstar, he’s sticking true to his lifelong plan of becoming a certified tradie. 

In between his on-field antics as the team’s hooker, Paix has been putting in the work behind the scenes at TAFE Queensland to complete his Cert III in Carpentry, which he started before landing his career-making contract in 2020. 

Despite Cory locking in a sizable $320k annual salary with the team for a two-year contract, he encouraged young Aussies dreaming of a career in elite sports to have a career in their back pocket that they could fall back on. 

“Footy’s not forever and you’ve got the rest of your life to think about. I believe that a carpentry apprenticeship or any sort of trade, you should pursue that,” said Paix.

“Certainly from a young age my father told me that you’ve always got to have a Plan B and I like the construction industry and I’d love to pursue that. I did that, starting in grade 10, and am currently still doing it.”

“Obviously it’s a long challenge with the one day a week between full-time footy, but it’s very enjoyable and it’s a great lifestyle for after footy.”

Fit around his full-time NRL schedule, Paix works one day per week on-site with his host company, ReeBuild, as an apprentice carpenter and completes his TAFE Queensland training via workplace delivery, visited on-site by a trainer and assessor monthly to complete his technical training.

Cory Paix alongside apprentices and trainer Anthony Gregor (supplied: TAFE Queensland)

Now nearing the end of his long road to becoming a tradie, Paix says TAFE Queensland’s flexible training has stood out due to its quality and the ease of access to training methods and online course components.

“I’ve worked with a lot of other training providers before this, and I’ve found so far that TAFE Queensland does it the best,” he said.

“When the season rolls around we get one day off a week and I spend most of my time out on site completing my apprenticeship, the rest of the time in between I’m on the computer completing my TAFE online,” Mr Paix said.

Paix is just one of the 25,000 apprentices who attend TAFE Queensland each year, with each being able to choose the type of course delivery that best suits them and their employer. 

With the hooker’s career now in uncertain waters after being consigned to the bench for a majority of the Bronco’s latest games and his contract set to end next year, Paix said he’s glad he had the opportunity to stick with the trades.

“I work with a trainer by the name of Anthony Gregory and he’s been so accommodating for me. He’s helped me progress further on in my apprenticeship and I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

“My relationship with Anthony is very professional, he comes out on site at least once a month and makes sure that I’m up to date and where I need to be to keep my progression moving forward.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.