North Queensland Toyota Cowboys hooker Jake Granville has returned to the training field but his off-season break was no holiday, as he works to complete his carpentry apprenticeship.

His off-season days involved rising at 5am most days to head to the construction site with Cowboys corporate member, Martin Locke Homes.

Jake worked in the construction industry before joining the NRL in 2009 and came close to finishing his trade qualification with only five training modules to complete.

“I did my apprenticeship for about three years and it got put on the backburner, but I spoke to Lockie [Locke] one day that I was pretty keen to get it done,” he said.

Jake is a firm believer in pursuing a career path for life after football and was keen to take the opportunity to sharpen up his tradie skills towards completing his qualification.

“I’d love to play footy forever, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s possible, so I see completing my apprenticeship as very important for the future,” he said.

“It's something I enjoy and it’s good to be back on the tools.”

Locke, director of Martin Locke Homes, played 54 first grade games for the Cowboys, and understands the challenge of juggling work with football.

“I remember working one Saturday morning and playing that night, but you can’t do that any more,” Locke said.

“It’s hard to do these days, pro football is all consuming so credit to Jake for wanting to finish his apprenticeship.”

Opportunities for personal development and career planning are a priority for the Cowboys, with fifteen current players, including Jake, also studying to complete a double-diploma in Hospitality Management and Business Management with major partner, Allara Learning.

The club's official tertiary education partner, James Cook University, also provides study options for a number of Cowboys players to help them prepare for their off-field careers after retirement from rugby league.