Australia, NT, Outback, 5175

We easily take for granted basic medical and health care facilities, education and employment opportunities however these are all necessary requirements to change and dramatically improve the state of indigenous health in Australia.

Socio-economic, cultural and environmental influences often impact the choices our indigenous community make, in terms of their lifestyles and physical activity levels.  From 2012 – 2013, three in five – (that is 62%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over were physically inactive (ABS).

Poor dietary choices and limited availability of fitness education and services have contributed to the BMI measures for Indigenous females and males being significantly higher than the comparable rates for non-Indigenous people in almost every age group.   81.4% of Indigenous women have a waist circumference that puts them at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases according to 2012-13 statistics (ABS).

A staggering $500 million is estimated to be required for funding per year just to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders up to the same level of access to primary health care as other Australians (Oxfam).  Even with government and non-government organisations and programs, such as Oxfam’s Close the Gap, making progress, the fact remains the life expectancy of Indigenous men and women is still 17 years below non-Indigenous Australians, and the infant mortality rates twice as high (Oxfam).  Diverse, sustainable and long term efforts, reactive and proactive, are required to overcome the inequity experienced within the Aboriginal community.

Helping to close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers is offering two full scholarships for the Certificate IV in Fitness course to those of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander background.  Each recipient will be provided with free tuition valued at over $5,000 each – the scholarship opportunity from the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers will kick-start their fitness careers and enable the state of Aboriginal health to be mended by those from the community.

The Australian Institute of Personal Trainers annually offers the nationwide scholarships to the indigenous community to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty for the recipients and to address the chronic disease that afflicts the population.  

“As an organisation focussed on education, employment and health, we are in a unique and fortunate position to offer these annual fitness education scholarships.  By making a career in the fitness industry a reality for two recipients we are able to positively impact their lives with a highly sought-after qualification, a career in a growing industry as well as an incredible opportunity to improve the health and fitness levels of those in the community around them.

The majority of our scholarship recipients from previous years have gone onto graduate and successfully find employment in specific areas of the industry that appeal to them individually.  Every year we receive a very high standard of applications from right across Australia which reinforces the importance and need for these scholarships to be offered to the indigenous community.

The two successful applicants will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to fitness and wellness and dedication to using their scholarship education to positively give back to their community. Their industry recognised qualifications will enable their employment options to significantly grow beyond traditional personal training and into the possibility of setting up their own business to employment in special populations varying from children, new mothers, the aged and corporate environments.  We will assist the recipients to then apply their skills back in the indigenous community”, said Kylie Fahey, CEO of the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers.

The recipients will be extensively supported with teaching resources, provided with a local mentor, gain experience working in gymnasiums and learn how to work with clients.  The qualification will educate both scholarship winners in anatomy and physiology, designing and delivering gym and exercise programs for special populations, health assessment and screening, client motivation and quality service, occupational health and safety, risk management and business essentials including marketing.  The scholarships also include course materials and continued student support.

The Australian Institute of Personal Trainers is now accepting scholarship submissions with applications closing on March 15, 2014.  Recipients will be announced by March 22, 2014.

For more information visit http://www.aipt.edu.au/media/scholarships/

Christian Cook is the owner/director of ‘Fit4sport NSW ‘ and is the Northern Beaches Campus Director with the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers. Christian has over 12 years of varied experience as a Fitness Professional and successful fitness business owner.  He has competed as an international professional surfer and after retiring from the sport in 2000, looked for a career in the fitness industry. He is a highly skilled Personal Trainer who is passionate about realistic training approaches and concentrates on sport specific training. He still is involved in the surfing community by fitness training professional surfers. A team of trainers work out of the Fit4sport facility with varied sporting backgrounds.