TAFE NSW Griffith Lauded For Mental Health Fitness Focus

Written by: The Griffith Phoenix


HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND: TAFE NSW Griffith fitness teacher Jared Kahiefeidt, with fitness student Haylee Miller, says incorporating a mental health unit in next year’s fitness courses will ensure future Griffith fitness instructors are better attuned to their clients’ needs.

A recent 20,000-person AusPlay survey found 31 per cent of respondents were motivated to exercise to maintain mental wellness, a figure that has almost doubled in the past five years.

After consultation with industry, TAFE NSW Griffith has included an elective unit titled “working with people with a mental health condition” to the Certificate III in Fitness course for 2024.

The Certificate III in Fitness qualifies graduates to become fitness instructors, a profession set to grow 9.8 per cent over the next five years, according to Jobs and Skills Australia.

The TAFE NSW Griffith course will be run by virtual classroom two nights a week, with monthly face-to-face skills workshops at TAFE NSW Wagga.

TAFE NSW Griffith fitness teacher, Jared Kahiefeidt said the fresh focus on mental health training for fitness professionals was in response to the changing needs of industry.

“The current research is showing that the number one reason people are attending gyms is to see improvements in their own mental health,” Mr Kahiefeidt said.

“Local gyms are crying out for TAFE NSW graduates but it’s important we prepare them to work effectively in the industry and make a real difference.

“This is such a holistic qualification in a role that is incredibly rewarding, because you’re helping guide people on their health and fitness journey.”

The course also includes units in anatomy and physiology, screening and assessment, and planning and instructing group exercise.”

The head of the nation’s peak fitness group has welcomed the move to incorporate a mental health unit into its fitness courses, amid new research showing almost a third of gymgoers now exercise to aid their mental health.

AusActive CEO Barrie Elvish, a vocal advocate for the benefits of exercising for mental wellness, said the new unit would ensure future MIA fitness instructors were better equipped to help clients navigate their personal fitness journey.

“The inclusion of mental health in the Certificate III in Fitness is a fantastic step forward by TAFE NSW,” Mr Elvish said.

“Physical activity is just as important for our mental health as it is for our physical health and most people work or get active to feel better, rather than look better.

“Understanding mental health and the benefits activity has on our mental fitness from the start of someone’s career journey into fitness will ensure future generations of fitness professionals have the right skills and qualities to benefit their clients.”

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