UWTSD staff and students benefit from Personal Training initiative


An initiative at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen is benefiting both staff and students, and demonstrating the benefits of creative teaching methods.

Students on the BSc Sport and Exercise Science portfolio of degrees are required to study a ‘Personal Training’ module which involves them developing the knowledge and skills required to prescribe exercise to others.

Programme Director and module leader Geraint Forster explains the initiative:

"Students are investing a significant amount of time and money into their education these days that it is important that we ensure they develop professional and vocational skills alongside developing academic knowledge. It is one thing to understand the theory behind a subject, but another thing altogether to develop the skills and confidence required to practically apply that knowledge.

"We are always looking at ways of providing opportunities within the degrees course to develop these skills. At the same time, as exercise scientists we are very aware of the issues linked to lack of regular physical activity, both for individuals and for organisations. We decided to launch this initiative to try to kill two birds with one stone and both provide valuable experiences for the students, and also improve the health and wellbeing of the staff of the University.

"As part of their assessment for the module, each student is assigned a willing member of University staff to be their personal training client. Students have to arrange to meet the client for a consultation, interview them to discover their needs, perform a basic health screening, and then write an exercise programme specifically for that client.

"Once this programme has been approved by the module tutor by means of a viva (a formal academic interview), the student then meets the client on a regular basis for a period of 8 weeks in order to deliver the training programme. Sessions take place within the University gym, under the supervision of qualified staff.” 

Earlier this year, over thirty members of University staff benefitted from having a free Personal Trainer. Feedback from the staff members was extremely positive, suggesting that they are now much more active as a result of the knowledge they have gained from their Personal Trainer. Feedback from the students has been equally positive, and has been clear to see.

Geraint said: “The difference in confidence and ability evident in the students during their end of module assessment in comparison to at the start of the year is remarkable. In their initial assessment students are nervous and unsure of themselves, but by the final assessment, after having trained a client for eight weeks they are significantly more confident, articulate and knowledgeable. It is not only their Personal Training abilities that have developed. They have also had to develop so many transferable professional skills such as: communication skills; punctuality; IT skills; marketing and promotional skills; taking pride in their appearance; etc.”

To further enhance the employability of the students,  staff have also become qualified to deliver vocational awards in fitness instructing and personal training, in order to help the students to gain the qualifications they need alongside their degrees to fulfil their career aspirations.

Geraint said: "Graduates of BSc Sport and Exercise Science go into a wide variety of different fields, including working in professional sport, working in healthcare settings, private fitness facilities, consultation work, and much more. Often this involves working your way up through the ranks, so to speak. Even professional sport scientists or strength and conditioning coaches will have often started out working as a gym instructor early in their career, as I did myself.

"By giving students the opportunity to become qualified as gym instructors and personal trainers during their first year of study, at heavily subsidised rates, we are giving them the opportunity to get onto the first rungs of the career ladder whilst still studying, so hopefully by the time they graduate they will have already accrued a couple of years of work experience.”

The portfolio of BSc Sport and Exercise Science degrees in Carmarthen includes specialist pathways in Personal Training, Outdoor Fitness, Sports Nutrition and Clinical Exercise Physiology. Students all study the same core modules, but can choose to specialise in a pathway, which further enhances their chances of progressing into the career of their choice. Staff intend, over the coming years, to develop similar initiatives in each of these pathways, such as placements within hospitals working with Cardiac rehabilitation patients, and working with Sports Nutritionists within professional sport.

Geraint Forster is Programme Director of BSc Sport and Exercise Science and can be contacted via g.forster@uwtsd.ac.uk 01267 676782. Course details can be found at http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/bsc-sports-exercise-science/

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
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Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk