Andrew Phillips understands the fickle nature of AFL football as well as any player in the league.
Not long after the end of the 2019 AFL trade period, Phillips has found his way to his third club (Essendon) since getting drafted by the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS in their debut season in the competition.
After four years at the GIANTS, where he played in the club’s first ever win, Phillips was traded to Carlton where he also played for four seasons.
2020 will see a new environment again, when he will take to the field as a Bomber, securing a contract that will see him hit at least a decade as a professional AFL footballer.
He knows that there are no guarantees in professional sport and your career is only as good as your next contract. But he also might have a better perspective about what comes afterwards. Unlike many draftees, Phillips spent time in the workforce before starting his professional football career.
“Straight out of high-school I got an apprenticeship, but when I was drafted to Sydney I had to put that on hold.”
However, his unfinished apprenticeship was never too far from his mind.
‘I’d always wanted to continue my apprenticeship and finish it off but there wasn’t really anything available that catered to me as a professional footballer.
“Then when I was traded to Victoria, I came across TIV and they tailored a program that allowed me to juggle football and undertake my studies.
“That’s something the club is really strong on: doing further education on your day off”.
And Phillips quickly found that the flexible learning environment at TIV was perfectly suited to the busy schedule he had to balance as a professional athlete.
And it wasn’t just the flexibility that Phillips found impressive about TIV’s training. He also found he was able to get a lot out of the contact hours he devoted to study in any given week.
“And you can pack a lot in. On the TIV site, you can go in and construct or deconstruct a whole frame. If the weather is bad you can go in and work in their indoor construction facilities.”
Beginning with TIV in 2018, Phillips has almost completed his Certificate III in Carpentry, has completed his Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and will commence his Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) on 30 October 2019.
“I can see a clear path opening up for me whenever my football career does come to an end”.
“It’s obviously pretty daunting thinking about the end of your football career and I’m not saying it’s ever going to be easy. But I’m determined not to finish up a ten-year career having to go back to a third-year apprenticeship. That’s definitely not something I’d do, but that’s something a lot of players have gone through; finishing their career and then having nothing to move into.”
“I know I’m building towards something and can move into the building industry when my football career ends. Through TIV I’ve been able to blend study with my football career, which means that whenever it finishes up, I’m qualified and I can slip into a job that I feel comfortable in.”