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Palmerston North’s UCOL sets out to prepare industry ready trainers

Palmerston North’s UCOL sets out to prepare industry ready trainers
January 13, 2020

UCOL (the Universal College of Learning) is aiming to equip industry ready trainers through its new Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness).

The first ever class to go through the programme have had great success after completing a practical component of their learning, working with real clients.

Staff from New Zealand's Ministry of Education, Palmerston North City Council and UCOL received eight weeks of personalizsed training from students overseen by their lecturers.

Students were assigned two to three clients of varying fitness ranges within a healthy scope, and were set the challenge of tailoring a fitness programme to help their clients achieve their goals.

Advising that he has received a lot of enthusiastic feedback from clients and is thrilled with how the process has gone, UCOL Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Wellness, Michael Mann stated "we knew going into this that it was somewhat of a challenging opportunity opening the doors to real clients. Often clients have a high standard of what they expect, so it’s a good opportunity for our students to develop professionalism quickly. Before any training commenced, clients were tested clinically including blood pressure, cardiorespiratory capacity and general fitness. One major aspect that our students excelled in was their understanding of Commitment as they worked with real clients who would be honest with what they would like to gain and their expectations."

The design of the programme sees eight students at a time working with eight clients in the Manawatu Campus’ Gym. The benefit of this is creating a community of developing trainers who can bounce ideas off each other and find inspiration when challenged to create new plans for clients.

Mann added "they learned how to keep the rapport going through communication and variation of exercises.

“The assessment also gives them an opportunity to experience in a learning environment how to adapt on the spot, if say, a client expresses boredom, lack of drive or turns up to training with an undisclosed injury. It sees students get to put their theory into practice and develop industry ready skills before they walk out the door. We had an incredibly positive response from clients who are ready to sign up for more and are even continuing on with their programmes through the summer."

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a New Zealand Government tertiary education institution (TEI) located primarily in Palmerston North and with campuses in Whanganui, Masterton and Levin.

Images: Activity in the Manawatu Campus’ Gym. Courtesy of UCOL.

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