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Woodwork class... Former All Black and BCITO ambassador Chris Jack looks over a table made by Blue Mountain College pupil Jack Johnston (18) during his visit to the school on Thursday. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

He dedicated more than 10 years of his life to professional rugby, but these days former All Black Chris Jack is educating today’s youth about the opportunities work in the trades can offer.

The 67-test All Black visited Blue Mountain College, in Tapanui, as the ambassador for Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation [BCITO] last Thursday.

BCITO is the largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships to help develop industry experience for building and construction platforms.

Jack and four team members from BCITO spent three hours at the school, visiting the technology and woodwork classes to educate the pupils on the benefits of BCITO apprenticeships.

Jack and the BCITO team spent time with pupils discussing how they made their woodwork projects and what they envisaged for their future.

“I’m really excited to see the woodwork creations they’ve come up with because that’s my background,” Jack said.

Jack, a builder by trade, gave a presentation to the pupils about his time as an All Black, a Crusader and life after rugby.

“When rugby was finishing up, I realised I did not have a job to go to. I picked up a tool belt and I’ve never looked back,” he said.

The visit to the college was a result of the BCITO-run competition to sign up pupils to the new myBCITO network.

The competition winners were randomly drawn, and Blue Mountain College was one of five schools chosen.

“I’m pretty sure they have the entire school signed up [to myBCITO]. It’s great,” Jack said.

Monaghan was delighted with Jack’s visit to the school.

“It’s so heartening to have somebody of his profile come and talk to us about what is happening in the trade areas,” Ms Cavanagh-Monaghan said.

Jack’s nature and personality had really shone through with the pupils, she said.

“His sense of humour is something the students could really relate to and helps get the message across.”

Many of the key messages reflected what All Black manager and mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka discussed with the pupils during his recent presentation, Ms Cavanagh-Monaghan said.

It was Jack’s first time visiting the college but he had close connections to the area, as his sister-in-law was from there.

He loved being able to interact with the pupils and spend time at the college.

“It’s a really big privilege to come to schools like this in rural communities and talk about my background and educate [pupils] on how building has helped me.”