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A few years ago Vinkal started reading up on physiology and bio-mechanics to complement his own performance in running, body building and swimming, but that fascination has now led to a career change. “I have a Master’s degree in commerce and was an accountant in India, but when I started coaching other runners there as a side-line in 2010, I realised coaching was more natural for me. The students I was coaching had good successes at state and national levels so I looked at how and where to study sport and recreation.”
“A degree in Sport and Recreation specifically studies sports science – compared to a general science degree – and that’s the field I’m interested in. I’m an international student and looked at training in Germany but it was in German, and the UK was expensive. My search led me to AUT and then to NorthTec which has the advantage for me of being in a small city. I want to specialise in working with high-level athletes like Olympians so the credentials of the tutors here, as top-level performers themselves, was also a drawcard.”
“I like that the degree is broad and leaves you to choose your own pathway if and when you’re ready, and I’m loving the small class sizes. Everyone is welcoming and warm and I really enjoy being part of the NorthTec community. I’m also working in the greater community as a trainer at the Aquatic Centre. Within that study/work combination, I’m developing an unexpected interest in rehab. Social and mental health are so integrated with physical health and it’s humbling for me to be involved in these services.”
“When I finish the degree I plan to go on and study biomechanics and physiology of human performance at a PhD level. And ultimately I want to spend some time in Africa because that is where the top runners are coming from. Top performance sport now is dealing in incremental measurements like micro-seconds and at that level, sports science is essential. It’s a field that didn’t really exist professionally until a few years ago.”
No-one else in my family has a degree so I feel I have the opportunity here to open new horizons for my kids and my...
“My Phys Ed teacher at school was my inspiration to want to teach physical education myself. Since then, it is what I have wanted to do. My other motivation is that no-one else in my family has a degree so I feel I have the opportunity here to open new horizons for my kids and my greater whānau.”
“I was living in Taupo and was going to the sport and recreation degree at Waikato, but I moved up here to be near the kids’ Dad’s family. The form of the degree here at NorthTec works for me and I can do part time work as well.”
“I love everything about the course and like the mix of theory and practical. I’m also really enjoying the mix of cultures in our class. We have students who are originally from France, Britain, and South Africa so I’m being exposed to different perspectives.”
“Getting this qualification will really improve life for me and my kids. Once I finish my degree I will go on and do the post graduate teaching qualification. I can then start living my dream of teaching physical education.”
Iwi – Ngati Tuuharetoa
I looked at other universities but this is the same degree with the same result and it’s right here at home.
“I was already doing weights and fight-sports and am really into physical exercise so I knew this was what I wanted to do. I looked at other universities but this is the same degree with the same result and it’s right here at home.”
“I’m enjoying everything about the course - especially learning the science behind things. The students all come here with different sports backgrounds but everything we learn applies to any physical background.”
“I’ve been surprised at how much everyone challenges each other. It’s great because it helps me to push myself. Completing the degree gives me a kick start into the profession I want to do. I’m keen to encourage other people and I already do a bit of personal training and take Tae Kwon Do classes.”
“When I finish I want to expand my qualification further into maybe strength conditioning, coaching or doing a Masters. My real dream is to have my own gym specializing in martial arts, weights and boot camps training anyone willing to put in 100%.”
I’m one of the youngest in our class and I love the range of ages and backgrounds. The tutors are so available...
“One of the great things about a career in sport and recreation is doing something different every day. I’ve always been into sport, hands-on stuff, and getting out there and involved, and I came here straight from school. This course is heaps of fun with lots of time outside the classroom. It gives us plenty of experiences and opportunities and we get to apply our learning in settings out in the community – like being involved with Seka World Cup last year.”
“I’m also working two jobs while I’m studying. One is coaching kids’ gymnastics through Active Attitudes. I had no previous gymnastic experience but the opportunity came up through a friend of a friend. It’s great because in a new sport I’m learning all the time, plus I get to give back to the kids. The other job isn’t industry related.”
“I’m one of the youngest in our class and I love the range of ages and backgrounds. The tutors are so available, accessible and supportive and we’re getting a chance to network with industry contacts. We’re being exposed to different career opportunities in wider specialist areas like nutrition or green prescription.”
“I’m keen to work and make some money when I finish the course, but one day I’d like to run a business in something related to the sport and recreation world.”
I really appreciate the smaller class size here, getting to know our class mix of domestic and international students...
“I’ve always loved sport, and now I have a real passion for competitive rugby and rowing, and social squash and basketball. I lived my first 10 years here in Whangarei then lived in Wellington for intermediate school and Auckland for high school. I’ve returned here straight from school because I want to study sport and rec and I want to play rugby here.”
“I have a lot of mates studying at other unis in big classes so I really appreciate the smaller class size here, getting to know our class mix of domestic and international students, and the one-on-one access with the tutors. I also love the free gym membership. Sport and rec study is a great opportunity to come straight out of school with a fees-free first year.”
“Long term I want to become a strength and conditioning coach for a team and get the opportunity to travel with them. To do that I’ll go on and do my degree year from here through AUT. The degree will give me the universality of an internationally recognised qualification.”
“My next step is to start as a personal trainer to build connections and gradually branch into where I want to go.”
The training here is so hands-on and I’m loving the community involvement. Some of the papers are designed around...
“I just finished my first year studying Sport and Recreation at Waikato uni when my circumstances changed. I wanted to move back up here so I took a semester off then had to start again.”
“The training here is so hands-on and I’m loving the community involvement. Some of the papers are designed around Sports Northland events and we get to volunteer at things like turbo-touch in schools.”
“We’ve also developed our own community amongst the students. Being part of a small, caring class is such a contrast to being in a uni lecture with 200 people with no interaction. Here we all support each other, we Facebook chat, and are involved in each other’s lives.”
“What we learn impacts our own personal development and our lives in ways I wasn’t expecting but really like. The tutors are also there for us in a really dedicated way giving extra time and support or just checking that we’re OK.”
“I’m upskilling here in a way that will open so many more career opportunities for me. When I started my study I wanted to be a personal trainer but now I’m leaning more towards health and wellbeing out in the community or in the forces. There are so many options there and I’m still exploring the possibilities.”
A lot of the skills I’ve learnt through study and work are transferable to home and family. Things like time...
“Sport Northland is a great organisation to work for.”
“I started working at Kensington Fitness in a customer services role whilst completing last year of my degree. In the final weeks of that year, an opportunity arose to step into a job as a Green Prescription support person. I was in that position for three years before moving in to Healthy Lifestyle Lead in 2017, and on to my current position as He Oranga Poutama Lead.
“Learning the content, skills, and attitudes from our Sport and Rec course, as well as my upbringing was a real match for my work here. The work experience that I got from our practical study time supported me to apply what we were learning. I continue to be challenged, learn and grow in my role here. Challenges are a big part of development and growth.”
“A lot of the skills I’ve learnt through study and work are transferable to home and family. Things like time management, interpersonal communication, understanding people better and knowing how to adapt, all apply to our lives. My mahi and the opportunities it offers every day, are fulfilling.”
“I like everything about the programme. The tutors are passionate, they have real industry experience and they know...
Dylan Merritt says his job satisfaction comes from seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they improve their personal...
Jessica runs her personal training business, Results Rule, from a remodelled shed on a rural property near Kerikeri.
“We’re meeting a gap in the fitness market and we get results, so the business just continues to grow.” Jessica Rule runs her personal training business, Results Rule, from a remodelled shed on a rural property near Kerikeri. “Both the business and the premises have evolved but what we do is working.” To validate that, Jessica was awarded Up and Coming Personal Trainer of the Year in the New Zealand Fitness Awards for 2013.
Jessica finished her degree in Sports and Recreation at the end of 2012, and wasn’t landing the jobs she wanted. “I was working part time when a good friend and mentor suggested I create my own business. That seemed too much of a commitment for a 20 year old, so to ease into the idea, I borrowed gear from her for a few months and started as a mobile personal trainer.”
“Because that worked so well, I looked at premises in Kerikeri but the rents were out of reach for a start-up business. Instead I set up a studio in a converted family farm shed, worked part time doing admin for the farm, and now run a thriving personal training business from there.”
“As well as having new gear and premises, we offer a fresh natural environment that people are drawn to and we do some of our training outdoors. We focus on one-on-one personal training specific to people’s goals, getting them from where they are to where they want to be. They come 1-4 times a week so are totally accountable and they get results quickly. We attract a lot of farmers and rural people who think they are fit but find out that they’re not.”
“We are also child friendly and run a mums’ boot-camp in the domain in town.”
Jessica found great support from her lecturers in her time at NorthTec. “They gave me confidence and believed in what I was doing and we had one-to–one attention in small classes. Being able to stay close to home in Northland was also great. It meant I could come home and earn money in the weekends.”
Jessica already has her eye on further business growth. “We’ve just started doing personal training in small classes to give a more affordable option, and in commercial places including to staff at a local school. Next year I might also look at doing some post-grad study in business.”
Kerrin now works full time in what for her is a dream job. “I’m a Green Prescription Co-ordinator for Sport Northland...
“I spent most of my adult life unhealthy and overweight. I then got fit and healthy.
I was so inspired by that change that I wanted to help other people make a similar transformation.”
“I looked for training options as my kids got older, and Sport and Recreation was the most relevant. I was keen to include anatomy and physiology and I preferred to stay near Whangarei because I have 7 kids and my family is here.”
“The tutors were absolutely fantastic. They are inspiring and encouraging and are really good examples of people living a healthy lifestyle. They also know their stuff.”
“I liked the practical in the course more than I expected. I was the oldest in my class but I was determined to have a go at everything. Touch rugby was a challenge and so was kayaking in the surf but the other students were a great support.”
“I feel a lot more confident now in my knowledge and in my ability to share it with other people and I can relate in broader ways.”
Kerrin now works full time in what for her is a dream job. “I’m a Green Prescription Co-ordinator for Sport Northland. We support people with conditions like obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease to do physical activity and improve their nutrition.”
“I wanted to help ordinary people of all ages get fitter and healthier and this job is exactly that. The Green Prescription Programme has grown hugely and there are some great success stories.”
“I’m now finishing the degree part time through AUT.”
“Deciding to do some study in an area of interest is a great decision. Look what can happen!”
During my cooperative placement for the Bachelor in Sport and Recreation programme, I managed to attain part-time...
“During my cooperative placement for the Bachelor in Sport and Recreation programme, I managed to attain part-time employment before I graduated from my degree. I was stuck on ideas for my co-operative which, like work experience, prepares you for what to expect in a work situation and how you can best apply your knowledge.”
“When I started my co-operative placement with Sport Northland I had never heard of Green Prescription. I had to increase my knowledge and understanding on the programme as well as the organization as a whole.”
“I’ve always been a very shy person and coming here was initially overwhelming and intimidating for me. Studying gave me the confidence to apply the skills and information I had acquired into the workplace environment.”
“The best part about studying for me was the flexibility. It allowed me to have a year off when I had my boy. Then once I was ready, I was able to continue my degree through part-time study, which better suited my circumstances.”
“In August 2016 and only halfway through my studies, a part-time job came up in Green Prescription which I was fortunate to have secured. Within a month this had progressed into a full-time role!”
“After a year in Green Prescription I then moved onto my current role as an Energizer in 2017. Energize is an initiative working primarily with decile 1-4 primary and intermediate schools to improve children’s physical activity and nutrition, and ultimately to improve their overall health, while helping schools achieve their education outcomes.”
“My decision to switch to a department that better reflected my passion and why in life has a lot to do with my upbringing. Growing up around multiple adverse influences was very challenging in my youth. What really empowered me through this time were the positive values displayed by role models that crossed my path during my schooling days. They really impacted on my decisions and where I wanted to take myself later in life and I honestly believe that I wouldn’t have taken this path to where I am now if it wasn’t for these people. I also want to be this role model and example to any youth out there in hopes that I may also help them with their paths for future!”