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New learning opportunities for Caithness in sports industry

3rd April 2014

Photograph of New learning opportunities for Caithness in sports industry

The first of its kind to be available in the Highlands, the National Qualification (NQ) Sport Fitness and Health will be led from The North Highland College UHI. Delivered by Lecturer and part-time Fitness Instructor Sarah Dunnett, it is one of the newest courses to be added to the college prospectus this year. Students will benefit from a mixture of practical and theory learning available at the college’s Thurso campus. Utilising the local facilities available, students will make use of Naver Gym, E’Shed and the Caithness Rugby Football Club facilities to assist with their learning. Candidates undertaking the course will benefit from small, tailored classes and a more personalised experience with one-to-one time with the tutors. The duration of the course is one academic year, if studied full time and two years part-time.

Sarah spotted the gap within the market while looking at her own career options in high school but made the choice to study a degree away from home. Commenting on the new course Sarah said: “This community has an abundance of talented young people wishing to get into the fitness industry yet this is not always possible due to financial and social reasons. The NQ in Sport, Fitness and Health therefore provides a unique opportunity for those to springboard themselves into the industry whilst gaining a formal qualification that is recognised throughout the academic institutes with the University of The Highlands and Islands and further. Having gone through a degree in this field myself, I understand the importance of gaining both practical and theoretical experience to provide a well-rounded qualification, something that is catered for extremely well by myself and the rest of the Sports team at North Highland College.” Sarah has recently just been informed that she will be a baton bearer for the Queen's Baton Relay.

The course will cover a mixture of sport and fitness subjects, focussing on essential theory elements such as nutrition, physiology, sport performance, sports injuries and sports mechanics. Practical aspects of the course will include; cardiovascular, weights training and circuits, making the course a varied blend for anyone interested in entering the sport industry. The tailored course has similar content to the SVQ course offered in Glasgow College meaning that students do not have to study away to get a qualification in sport.

Sarah and the sports team at North Highland College have ensured the course has excellent progression routes for candidates making the future options almost endless. Following from the National Qualification students can progress to sports related HNC/D awards such as HNC Awards in Sports Coaching, and Fitness, Health and Exercise and Equine Studies which are available to study at North Highland College, Perth, Moray and Inverness College who are all partner colleges of the University of Highland and Islands (UHI).

Candidates who successfully complete the course have the opportunity to gain employment in the Health and Fitness Industry and have the necessary qualifications to work with swimming pools, sports coordinators and to enter into a Level 2 Personal Training course.

The course is new along with the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Sports Management degree which, unlike the NQ can be studied in Thurso, Alness and Dornoch. Applicants can apply right up until the summer holidays, however, there are limited placed and therefore an early application will give the best opportunity of interview which will run up until August.
The college will also be offering a National Progression Award (NPA) in Achieving Excellence in Sport, this is available for school pupils who would like to try something new and get a taster for the course. Offered as part of the school link provision, the North Highland College UHI alongside local High Schools have scheduled the course for a Friday as part of the pupils’ timetables.

Donald MacBeath acting principal of North Highland College UHI comments on the new sport section. “The College has a vibrant sports based curriculum, which currently focuses on outdoor sports such as golf, equestrianism and fishing. I am delighted with the way College staff have created this new opportunity in association with local community groups and I am sure it will further develop into new local learning opportunities provided by the College as a partner of The University of the Highlands and Islands.”

Sarah has recently started her own business venture, 3D Personal Training, and runs two public weekly classes in Thurso and Castletown, a monthly boot camp and private sessions - all of which have become a roaring success with the public. The monthly boot camp was Sarah’s first outing as a Personal Trainer which began last August and received a tremendous amount of support by the public, in particular the North Highland Harriers. Sarah has recently just returned from volunteer training for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
For anyone who is looking to apply or require more information on the National Qualification Sport Fitness and Health course applicants are encouraged to phone North Highland College Admissions team on 01847 889250.

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