A key component of both the Certificate III and Certificate IV in Fitness is completing work experience. The practical placement program is designed to give students a true ‘hands on’ experience and provide an opportunity to gain an insight into what working in the fitness industry is really like. It’s an integral part of both qualifications in bridging the gap between studying and future employment and is a great way to put the skills and knowledge learned in the course into practice.
Many facilities Australia wide are happy to take on AFA students for practical placement because it offers them the opportunity to ‘check you out’ as a potential employee upon graduation. For this reason, it’s important to make the most of your hours at your placement facility as plenty of knowledge can be gained and connections made to help with future job opportunities.
Here are seven tips on how to nail your personal training practical placement and make the most of your experience:
Make a Good First Impression
An old cliché that most certainly still rings true – you only get one chance to make a first impression so it’s important to get it right. Make sure you turn up to placement on time, are suitably dressed (in your 2XU work experience shirt!) and are ready to go with a smile on your face. Sometimes it’s about the little things, and your supervisor will definitely notice them. By starting off on a good note, chances are more opportunities will come your way.
Bring a Positive Attitude
Going into placement with a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn will help create a successful relationship between you and your supervisor and will make the experience an enjoyable one for all involved. Being in a positive frame of mind will help increase your motivation to succeed and achieve your goals. There’s no doubt there will be days where you aren’t all that motivated to go to placement, but bringing positive energy and vibes will no doubt help get you through!
Demonstrate Your Work Ethic
Your time on placement can be used as a great opportunity to demonstrate what you are like as a worker. It’s important to approach placement in the same way you would if you were being paid as a qualified professional. Without being too over the top, make yourself available as much as possible and complete tasks in an effective and efficient manner. If your supervisor and those around you see the strong work ethic you have, they will have no problem referring you or hiring you in the future.
This is the perfect chance for you to ask any questions you may have about the fitness industry. Soak up as much information as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask anything you aren’t sure of or want to know more about. You may feel like you’re being annoying or a nag sometimes, but supervisors are receptive to people who take an interest and can often be eager to share what they know.
Ask for Feedback
Try and gather informal feedback from your supervisor as you go along, rather than waiting for the evaluation form to be completed at the end. This gives you a chance to improve throughout your time there, and shows that you care that you’re doing a good job and are willing to learn and grow as a trainer.
Being friendly and approachable is an invaluable skill in any industry. Chatting and getting to know people at your placement facility will not only provide you with a wealth of knowledge but will also provide you with the opportunity to network and build connections. Getting a job sometimes can come down to who you know, so if you’ve made good relationships with employers at your work experience facility you are one step ahead of the game!
Go Above and Beyond
While there is a minimum number of work experience hours required in both the Cert III and Cert IV, that doesn’t mean you have to stop there! Be proactive in your learning experience and don’t just go to placement with the attitude of ‘I just need to get these hours done’. Make sure you use the opportunity you have to really put the theory you have learnt into practice – and if that means completing more hours than required and volunteering your time, do it! We find that it is often those who go the extra mile and put in the hours are the ones who gain employment at their gym facilities once they have finished their studies.
One final tip – have fun and enjoy yourself!