Recently Josh Cowan and Lachie Henderson from the Geelong Cats dropped in on a Builders Academy class at Deakin University, in their hometown of Geelong. The students and players ate pizza and talked about studying building and construction, juggling work and training, and planning their future careers. Read on below for some behind-the-scenes photos and a few tips from the players.


Josh and Lachie weren’t fazed by being in a room full of Hawks, Blues, Pies and Tigers supporters. Luckily they had at least one Cats fan on their side.


The students are busy completing either their CPC40120 Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) or their CPC50220 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). They talked with the players about working and training on and off the field, going for their building licences and, of course, their favourite footy teams.


Jonathan Patists, 25, barracks for the Cats and has a month to go of the Certificate IV. He got into carpentry because of his grandfather, and is working on a house, gallery and B&B in Wallington. He’s so far most enjoyed learning about WHS regulations. What does he think of Josh and Lachie coming in today? “I’m over the moon. I wish my teacher told me this was happening ’cause I would have brought in my jumper to get signed.”


The trainers ordered pizza and everyone dug in. The students got to ask Josh and Lachie some questions about how the Geelong Football Club supports their education and training outside of footy.


Lachie explained how the Cats players get a day each week to focus on careers outside the club. “I’ve done a business diploma and am doing one day a week with a property developer. I need to understand building if I’m talking to builders or architects.” Balancing training and working “helps you keep a roof over your head”. It’s handy if you can build that roof yourself.


Off the field, Josh studied business management, which gave him “something else to think about, so it’s not just 24/7 football”. He’d like to get qualified as a builder and start his own business. “I don’t think sitting in an office would be interesting to me. Being outside and using my hands would suit me better.”


A lot of the students are already subcontracting for builders or working on their own businesses, so they had a good time chatting with the players about juggling day jobs and study.


Nathan Hovey, 41, says he’s already learnt a lot in the Certificate IV: “I run my own landscaping business, so there’s a lot of legal stuff you can get wrong. It’s good to learn about the building side, too. All these other guys are apprentices and chippies, and they all know stuff I didn’t know before I started.”


“I never knew what a truss or hip joint was, you know, technical term-wise,” says Chris Harris, 59, also a landscape designer doing his Certificate IV. He used to run a successful company that manufactured stone pavers, columns and pedestals before he moved down the coast to build his own house and, eventually, open two B&Bs. “To get my builders licence I’ve got to know all the Australian standards, agreements and codes. It’s good to know that everything I’ve got planned is way above the standards.”


Brendan Briggs, 34, is a carpenter and has just started the Diploma. He’s enjoyed switching from paperwork in the Certificate IV to the computer-based course work in the Diploma. “It’s a good course. We get free pizza, so yeah, it’s good.” Does he go for the Cats? “Nah, Collingwood. But it’s good that the guys are getting out there, getting supported. What they were saying before about studying – they need to learn too.”

Big thanks to Josh and Lachie for coming down to chat with the students. All legends!

If you’d like more info on the Certificate IV and Diploma courses in Building and Construction, check out our courses page or give the team a call on 1300 LEGEND.