‘I want to work in the fitness sector. What’s the best course to do?’

Ask Brian: It makes sense to invest extra time for professional quality training

The leisure and fitness industry continues to experience rapid growth and there are lots of opportunities. Photograph: iStock

The leisure and fitness industry continues to experience rapid growth and there are lots of opportunities. Photograph: iStock

 

I’d like to study a course that will get me work in the health and fitness sector which is recognised by the industry. I’m based in south Dublin and see lots of courses offered by private schools for teaching yoga and Pilates. Can you help?

Firstly, you’re right to consider whether your qualification will open the right doors when it comes to looking for work. The temptation to “fast-track” training may seem appealing in the short term, but could just as quickly lead to a career dead-end.

The good news is the leisure and fitness industry continues to experience rapid growth and there are lots of opportunities.

If you’re clear about your career choice, then it makes sense to invest extra time for professional quality training. Fitness shouldn’t be rushed, and neither should good fitness training.

There are a number of courses in Crumlin, Coláiste Íde, Blackrock and Sallynoggin that broadly fit your area of interest, all in Education and Training Board (ETB) colleges.

These are recognised for the Susi grant and the Higher Education Authority fund for learners with learning difficulties. Social welfare applicants may be entitled to the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (Vtos), including free childcare and/or back to education allowance. All staff in the ETB sector are required to be registered with the Teaching Council, so you have the assurance that tutors are qualified and fully vetted.

As you are interested in yoga and Pilates as part of your training, I am aware that Sallynoggin College of Further Education – like many PLC course providers – has a broad network of connections with employers looking to hire quality graduates. This year, it introduced one-year courses in yoga teaching, including wellbeing and holistic studies, as well as Pilates teaching including somatic studies.

It is well known in Dublin as a quality provider of training options under its sports, leisure and fitness programmes.

Its qualifications are at QQI level five and six and include a range of recognised certification, including strength and conditioning, personal training, gym instruction and sports massage therapy. Some courses have work placements in a professional setting, which can prove very useful when it comes to securing a job following graduation.

A key question to ask of any training course is always, who is delivering it? The staff in further education colleges are highly trained instructors, with a record that is backed up by the employment success of their past pupils. Having dedicated practitioners, whose qualifications have been validated by the Teaching Council, is important, as not only does it ensure the quality of training you receive, it also means that they are in tune with industry best practice. Details of more courses are on Qualifax (qualifax.ie).

Email queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com