University students juggling study with a rugby career will have an easier time getting into the swing of things after the University of Wollongong and the NRL signed a five-year renewal of a program aimed at mentoring players off the field.

Dragons reserve grade player Charly Runciman was one of the first to enter the Graduates of League program when it started in 2012.

“I’d started at uni and it was a massive help to me back then, having a tutor outside normal hours that could really direct me where my study needed to go,” Mr Runciman said.

“It saved me a lot of time and allowed me to concentrate on both uni’ properly, and as well as, effectively, my career.”

UOW careers consultant Taryn McDonnell said the program provides students options after an NRL career.

“They’re gaining so many skills playing NRL in the first place. For example, they’re gaining team skills, leadership skills, community engagement, a sense of purpose,” Ms McDonnell said.

“But to have that Plan B, and to have that career path to transition into, is reassuring.”