Jack Lonie was lucky enough to go virtually from school straight to the Australian Football League (AFL). So at first he didn’t give much thought to further study.
Perfectly understandable when you consider that footy is now a full time career. Jack is signed as a forward with St Kilda until at least the end of the current season.
But Jack’s interest in further study was piqued when a few of the more senior players at St Kilda started to do their Certificate III in Carpentry. He admits, “Being an 18 year old kid coming out of school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do if I didn’t get drafted. I was thinking of a trade of some kind and I suppose the building and construction industry is so widespread that there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
Studying at TIV
Before long Jack found himself following in the footsteps of other players, completing his Certificate III in Carpentry at the Trade Institute of Victoria (TIV). He also went on to do his Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and is now in the process of studying for his Diploma of Building and Construction (Building).
He says “the way the courses are set out, it’s so easy and rewarding to be able to do them.” Like many other AFL players who have gained qualifications at TIV, he appreciates the flexibility that instructors allow so the courses can be completed around training and playing schedules. He concedes it may take him a bit longer than others to complete because of his schedule, but by putting the course on one night a week for him, TIV are making it possible.
At the moment he’s particularly enjoying having a Tuesday night class because it leads into a day off from training. This gives him the opportunity to spend Wednesdays unwinding and enjoying one of his favourite pastimes, golf.
Jack enjoys his study and thinks the Certificate IV and Diploma are “packed with a lot of valuable information.” And while he recognises that he still has a lot to learn about the building and construction industry, he believes what he is learning “will hold me in good stead” when it comes time to put it all into practice.
He likes the friendliness of the instructors and the fact they have a bit of fun with the class. They make learning enjoyable. Jack adds:
“The instructors are very approachable as well and if you’re struggling, they want you to ask questions. No question is a dumb question.”
While it’s hard for a young, fit and successful football player to think too far into the future, Jack is well aware that football doesn’t last forever and even concedes that time is going by quickly.
Jack enjoyed the hands on side of the Certificate III but admits that “going forward long term, I don’t think I’d want to be on the tools every day after my football career.”
He has a few friends in the project management side of construction and sees this as an area he would like to move into after footy ends. He explains, “I think that would be pretty good. I think owning my own business would probably be my number one goal. I really enjoy the hands on side of project managing and being able to manage my own construction projects would be something I’d like.”
The onset of the COVID epidemic saw Jack move from face to face teaching into a virtual classroom. He adapted well to this and says the instructors made the transition easy.
But living in the AFL’s “COVID safe bubble” has been a challenge. At the moment Jack finds himself in beautiful Noosa, Queensland but he is not allowed to leave the resort where the players are being housed. He says, “It can be a bit claustrophobic every now and then as you try and find your own space but I suppose that’s just the way it is at the moment. It’s a crazy time so we have to be able to adapt and stay resilient.”
It’s easy to be consumed by football when that’s all a player is doing. But Jack credits TIV with keeping him grounded.
Jack believes the opportunity to study at TIV has “provided a good balance away from footy.” If he has lost a match or is having a bad day “it’s good to be able to just go in and do some work and stop thinking about football for a while. It’s good for my mental health.”
It seems this is one footy star with his feet planted firmly on the ground. Jack Lonie is living the dream – playing footy while laying the foundation for a future career after his playing days come to an end.