Jacob Simpson and Jessica Toone are among the first cohort of graduates from Swinburne’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science – and have both secured roles with Kieser, a global physiotherapy and strength training organisation who focus on strength for health.
Jacob and Jessica completed their studies at the end of 2020 and now work with Kieser as exercise scientists in Melbourne.
Placement turns into permanent role
Kieser is also one of Swinburne’s Work Integrated Learning partners, providing students with the opportunity to gain industry insight and experience during their studies.
In her final year of study, Jessica completed 152 hours of professional placement, some of which she completed with Kieser, which she says helped her put theoretical knowledge into practice.
“To have the opportunity to practice some of my strength training skills and observe best practice in a real-world setting at Kieser was invaluable. I was able to pick up some tips that have helped me to begin work as a graduate with confidence,” she says.
Throughout her placement, Jessica was able to shadow different staff members and observe and practice exercise prescription and delivery, allowing her to learn from experienced practitioners about what is involved in working for a large, professional organisation such as Kieser.
Jessica now works with a variety of clients to tailor exercise programs to suit their needs. While on her placement, the importance of soft skills, such as communication and empathy, became apparent and has helped her to succeed in her new role.
“Technical skills aside, it is the ability to relate to people that will set you apart from the rest in the exercise and sport industry.”
Melbourne’s lockdown resulted in the pair completing some of their placement from home, which included delivering telehealth exercise to clients
Confidence is key to success
Jacob had the opportunity to complete placements at Richmond Institute of Sport Leadership and Melbourne Fitness and Performance. Now working at Kieser, Jacob says his biggest advice is to trust yourself, have confidence and build rapport with clients to succeed in the workplace.
“I have found that the best way to ensure a client keeps coming back is to make the time enjoyable for them and myself. Have fun and they will look forward to training, not dread it!”
Jacob is enthusiastic about his role at Kieser, though he admits that coming out of university into industry can be intimidating.
"However, I have learnt to tap into the knowledge that I have worked so hard to acquire over the past three years and apply that confidently,” he says.
Setting up for success
Associate Professor and Course Director of Exercise and Sport Science, Amanda Benson, says, “We are excited to celebrate our first cohort of students graduating this year, after what was a very unusual year with all the COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.”
She says that industry-based placements, and technology, is some of what sets Swinburne’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science apart. “This is something we are very proud of and begin preparing students for from Year 1, Semester 1 of their degree,” she says.
For Jessica, Swinburne’s focus on providing real-world experiences was ultimately what gave her a real perspective on the industry and confidence in her professional identity.
“Just talking to people already working within my profession began to instil a sense of self-belief. The chance to use and practice some of my technical skills during placement allowed me to become confident that I could use them effectively in a working setting,” she says.