LACHLAN Jackson has always been interested in how things work.
Tara Andrews used to help her handyman dad fix things.
For now, both Jets players are focused on promising careers in the A-League and W-League respectively.
But they are also planning for the future.
Jackson, 23, is halfway through a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in electrical and electronics.
Andrews is in the final semester of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
They are among 11 Jets players engaged in study and recipients of education grants through Professional Footballers Australia player union.
Nigel Boogaard (Bachelor of Business), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science), Noah James (social media marketing), Jason Hoffman (Bachelor of Business Sport Management), Roy O’Donovan (UEFA B Licence) and Daniel Georgievski (branding management) are among those pursuing outside study.
Only Perth Glory, with 12, have more players in the PFA program which provides grants of up to $1000 a year.
Jackson, who is in his fourth season at the Jets, began his degree when he finished school.
“I have been studying part-time for about five years now,” he said. “Down the track I’d like to work in the air force or in the aerospace industry. I have always had an interest in how things work and my older sister Tara did the same degree. She is working at a natural gas plant in Gladstone. There is lots of potential in mining, especially around the Hunter Valley.”
Jackson, who is undertaking two subjects a trimester, hopes to be finished in three years.
“It is good to have time away from football,” he said. “With two subjects, it is a good balance. I get an assignment done, have a few days off and go again.”
Andrews, who works two days a week for Australian Rail Track Corporation in project management as part of a under-graduate program, has eight weeks until her final assessment is complete.
“I liked maths and science going through school,” she said. “My dad mentioned engineering to me when I was looking at degrees. He is a bit of a handy man and likes to fix things. I like to know how they work. He said to have a look at engineering. I thought it looked pretty cool and decided to give it a go.”
Andrews has switched between studying full-time and part-time and also took time off to play overseas.
“Engineering is pretty full-on,” the 24-year-old said. “In terms of hours, you could do 30-plus a week. It is an outlet, something different to soccer all the time. I am getting ready for the future and making sure I have a career after football.”
Jets coach Ernie Merrick is a former physical education teacher and encourages his players to gain further qualifications.
“I believe education is an important part of everyone’s development,” he said. “Also if the focus is so much on football they don’t have another side to their life. I think they lose balance a little bit. We encourage all our young players, in particular, to do some study, even simple study, outside of football.”