Meet Cody. Cody is a 22 year old personal trainer who lives in Darwin. Before becoming a personal trainer, Cody finished high school and moved to Adelaide to study. He tried out a few degrees before deciding that University wasn't for him.
Instead, he decided to take his passion for gaming to the next level. Cody went professional in a game called League of Legends and started to make a living off gaming. He had long thought of getting paid to do something he loved and was already good at. But, he soon realised it would be quite hard to make a long-term career out of it, partly because he found it hard to improve when he was already ranked so highly. He soon realised this wasn’t a long-term solution for him.
Cody then went back to the drawing board and thought about the things he enjoyed and had skills in. That’s when he thought of really pursuing fitness and personal training. “I always trained when I was younger, from when I was 14. I like helping people get through issues, and I figured that personal training would be kind of similar. Working with someone through a particular program, whether it’s weight loss or muscle gain. I think the ability to say ‘I did that whole hour of something that’s really hard’ really helps you become a stronger person.”
It took Cody a while to come around to pursuing VET (Vocational Education and Training) over university. “I would never have imagined doing it because I planned on going to university. When you’re at school you think I’m either going to go to university or do VET, and you think university is the best option because it’s the ‘higher’ education. So a lot of people do year 11 and 12 because it’s harder while they might have enjoyed doing VET. I think that’s fine, but for some people it slows them down from doing what they actually want to do.” Cody reflected that this is one of the things that stopped him from pursuing something like personal training straight out of school.
Cody is now the assistant manager of a Snap Fitness in Yarrawonga, Darwin, where he does personal training and administration. He started working there in August last year while finishing his Certificate III in Fitness, and went on to do his Certificate IV in Fitness while working full-time.
“The way the course works is that it’s free pace. You have a year to finish each certificate, but if you studied full time then you could get it done in four weeks. I was working on top of study, so I completed my Certificate IV in six months.”
Working full-time while studying at your own pace. Sweet gig, right? Cody thinks so too.
“There were a couple days off in the week where I didn’t have to work so I would sit down and study in 4 or 5 hour blocks. That worked for me because it took a little bit of time for me to get into it.
My course was all done online. I would take videos of me doing practical activities which would be assessed – if you don’t get it right then you get two more chances to submit.”
I asked Cody what his goals were for his career and he decided he wants to go on to study psychology in Semester 2 this year.
“The goal is to help people with both qualifications I’ve got, and maybe work into something where I can do both physical health and psychology at the same time because they work hand in hand. For now my plan is to work in personal training while I’m studying my psychology degree. It’s great to have a job that’s really flexible and will fit around my study time.”
On top of that, Cody wants to use his VET skills to address some of the issues prevalent in the gaming community which he experienced first hand.
“Another reason I want to get into these degrees is to help professional gamers. A lot of Australians play video games these days which can be draining mentally. It’s a problem when you’re playing games to get away from things, or where the games you’re playing are negatively affecting you.
I’m working with a fellow gamer to help these professional gaming teams be healthy and have some more structure to their daily life. We want to design training and diet programs and do personal training sessions with them so they’re in better physical and mental shape while they’re gaming full time.”
FYA partnered with the Federal Department of Education and Training to highlight the real stories behind young Australians navigating the world of work, especially those taking up VET pathways. The How I Got The Job series shows just some of the many different options out there.