Ligi Sao has been preparing for life after rugby league during the 2022 campaign by taking on work experience with club partner SS Testing.
Sao has been getting stuck in working with one of the local electrical firm, looking to upskill in other areas ahead of his eventual retirement from the game in years to come.
While the 29-year old isn’t going anywhere just yet, the Samoan international understands the importance of preparing himself for life when he moves on from the Black & Whites.
“I decided that I wanted to get some work experience to put me in a good position for when I finish playing rugby league, because it’s not a career you can do for your entire life,” Sao said.
“Back in New Zealand, I did a bit of work with plumbing and heating, so I already had some basic experience. I do quite enjoy trade work, actually.
“It was great that Shane at SS Testing took me in and allowed me to do some work experience with his company. I really appreciate the opportunity to build my experience.
“They are great sponsors for the club and they have been with us for several years now, so it was good to repay their faith by putting my hand up to do some work for them.
“There are also some other really good trade companies that work closely with the club. I know that PBS Construction have offered players some similar opportunities previously, too.
“I think the whole concept is fantastic and it’s something I will be encouraging some other players to get involved with, especially some of the younger lads.
“It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that you’re not going to play footy for your entire life, so you need an option for when you hang up your boots.
“Plus, it gives you a chance to switch off from footy during busy periods in the season. I can speak from personal experience that it takes your mind away from sport and allows you to focus on something else for a few hours, which is refreshing for the mind.”
Shane Sisson, Company Director at SS Testing, added: “Ligi is working towards his mechanical and plumbing qualifications with us, which has included learning a variety of skills to suit several job requirements, from complete bathroom refurbishment to installation of residential heating systems.
“Ligi is a great asset to the business. He’s hard working, and our engineers have loved working alongside him.
“It’s important for players to begin training for a new career whilst still active within rugby to ensure that they have employment following their retirement from the game, and it’s been a pleasure to be involved with this partnership to help players make the transition from the game to their new career as easily as possible.
“I look forward to our continued partnership, and helping more players gain skills and qualifications that they can use in later life.”
To find out more about SS Testing and their services – click here