Nicky Lawrence says the lessons she learnt as part of the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science at Swinburne have been ‘life-savers’ during her placement experiences.
The degree, has just received official accreditation from the profession’s peak body, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), which means students will have the option toregister as an Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES) as soon as they graduate
Working with technology
Students of the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science get hands on experience with industry-standard technology, which better prepares them for the workforce. They graduate equipped to develop interventions to improve health, fitness, wellbeing, performance and prevent chronic conditions for individuals and communities.
‘Technology is changing the way exercise and sport scientists work, it enables innovation and more personalised exercise prescription and monitoring to improve health and sport performance. So, it is important that students are immersed in this and get plenty of opportunity to learn by doing,’ says Exercise and Sport Science Course Director, Associate Professor Amanda Benson.
As students progress in their degree, they use innovative, industry-standard technology such as telehealth software, 3D motion capture technology, global positioning system technology, electromyography (a technique for evaluating the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles) and sensor technology.
Nicky says using different equipment has been ‘imperative’ to developing the skills required to succeed in her industry experiences. ‘I was unsure about how things I’ve learnt at university would be relevant in the workplace, but they have been life-savers.’
‘The integration of industry-based placements and technology gives our Exercise and Sport Science students the confidence they need as they move into their careers,’ Associate Professor Benson adds.
Hours of opportunity
To further boost students’ industry experience, they undertake 60 and 80-hour placements during the first semester of their final year. Nicky’s 60-hour placement was at Haileybury College, working in their strength and conditioning program with the rugby team.
Nicky has accumulated valuable industry experience through placements and the use of innovative technology.
Head of Learning Analytics at Haileybury, Aidan Ryan, says Nicky has ‘taken the lead’ on gym work, field fitness, physical wellness and injury management.
Her 80-hour placement was completed at the multi-disciplinary strength training clinic, Optimus Health, where she worked directly with different clients, led educational running sessions, ran tests using performance equipment and built client relationships to help with their various goals and abilities.
Nicky was supported by Swinburne during her placement via a weekly tutorial where the class worked on important skills and development, completed mock interviews and discussed how to overcome challenges. Nicky says she felt supported and was able to adapt to being ‘thrown in the deep end’.
‘No one wants to see you fail! All the supervisors, coaches and university staff are there as supporters, providing students with every opportunity to learn and grow.’
Nicky accepts that she’ll never know everything, but says her supervisors want students to be knowledgeable, hungry and curious. ‘The most exciting thing is that there is always something new to learn, upskill in and an avenue to go down.’
Future in the field
Nicky is currently working part-time as an administrator for global physiotherapy and strength training organisation, Kieser, and would like to complete a postgraduate degree in physiotherapy in the future. She also hopes to work in many areas such as strength and conditioning, and women’s health.
‘I want to do it all. I would like to open a clinic one day, dabble in research and work in hospitals. There is so much that is out there to experience and learn from!’
Nicky’s advice for other students is to ‘back themselves’. ‘Be open to constructive criticism and feedback, but in high pressure moments it is important to make quick decisions and back it!’
She says it’s natural to feel nervous or like you haven’t chosen the right decision. ‘Don’t worry! It is scary at the time, but it will be valuable to you later on and may even make a great story.’