Business makes fitness study accessible for all
An online personal training course is breaking down barriers for students living in provincial and rural areas, while empowering those requiring flexible study options. Fit Futures Academy CEO Daisy Seely-McGrath (pictured above) says accessibility is the main reason the training institute offers an online course option for those who can’t make it to face-to-face classes. […]
An online personal training course is breaking down barriers for students living in provincial and rural areas, while empowering those requiring flexible study options.
Fit Futures Academy CEO Daisy Seely-McGrath (pictured above) says accessibility is the main reason the training institute offers an online course option for those who can’t make it to face-to-face classes.
“We wanted to be as accessible to someone living in Southland or the West Coast as someone living in central Auckland. No matter where you live, as long as you have an internet connection you can study with us.”
Another driver for the online option is providing equal study access to a broader range of people, including those working and caring for family members.
“Most of our students are working full-time or juggling childcare with their study. We’ve designed the course so people can fit their study around other commitments which is vital when you’re trying to balance a busy schedule.
“It’s also a more affordable and stable pathway to a new career or business as you can continue to work while studying.”
With a head office in Christchurch, plus an Auckland office and face-to-face courses in both cities, Daisy credits technology and the broadband roll out with helping Fit Futures Academy grow its student base nationwide, while providing tools for more interactive online study options.
“I understand that we’re the only New Zealand fitness provider to offer a full online study option for students. We use a variety of platforms to connect with our students including podcasts, videos, and kinaesthetic learning techniques. None of this would be possible without technology. Technology is a great equaliser; providing opportunities for more students to study with us than ever before.
“Social media is an important connector and peer learning tool. We set up closed Facebook groups for each class which provides an opportunity to engage and share ideas. It’s especially important for our online students who feel connected to their classmates via social networks, no matter where they live in New Zealand.”
Technology isn’t just used by Fit Futures Academy for connecting student groups, it’s also used by tutors to support students via Skype, Zoom and email. Daisy says this enhances personal interactions between staff and students.
“Video technology adds a personal approach to online study and creates more dynamic and responsive interactions.”
Fit Futures Academy is also harnessing the power of technology to continuously improve its course offerings and processes. It carries out twice yearly online student surveys and implements changes based on student feedback.
“We focus on creating the best possible learning environment for our students. One of the best things about digital platforms is the live and continuous feedback. To stand out you need to do more than just respond; you need to make positive changes and have the facts to back everything up.
“This is a good thing because you’re always evolving as you learn what works best for students.
“It also allows us to keep adjusting and improving course content in a fast-paced industry. We need to keep ahead of changes and pass that knowledge onto our students. I see us as a bridge between students and the health and fitness industry – it’s all about making them workforce ready.
With the fitness industry booming both in New Zealand and globally, Daisy predicts increased demand for personal trainers as more people view personal training as a necessity, rather than a luxury.
“It’s quite common for people to have weekly sessions with a personal trainer at the gym or to do a one-on-one programme. We have a real focus on individual wellbeing and that’s where a good personal trainer comes in. It’s not just about the work-out, it’s about building relationships and having someone hold you accountable and motivating you to achieve your goals.”
The next step for Fit Futures Academy is integrating nutrition coaching into their course portfolio. Nutrition coaching is a key growth area for the industry and provides a complementary service for personal trainers to offer clients.
“It’s a natural progression for us to offer this to our students. Many graduates go on to operate their own personal training businesses and nutrition coaching expertise will provide them with a broader service offering.”
Daisy says 2020 will also see the launch of a Fit Futures Academy app designed to help students learn on the go, while measuring their fitness and wellbeing.
“We’re really excited about launching the app as it’s another way that we’re breaking down barriers to learning and using the power of technology to provide flexible fitness study options.”