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Students and businesses benefit from learning in the work place


Work placements for students are beneficial for them and the businesses they work for.



Cassidy Slade.


Isabel Buckhurst.


Tyrone Kemp.

Real-world work placements have set four Massey graduates up for their careers in sport and exercise.

Connecting students with businesses for learning experiences is a core part of Massey University’s programmes and in 2020 the Sport and Exercise Practicum has focused on connecting more students and graduates studying physical education to “work-integrated learning” opportunities.

Recent sport practicum graduates Tyrone Kemp and Isabel Buckhurst secured roles as game development manager with Wanganui Rugby and events and communication officer with Netball Waikato/Bay of Plenty, respectively.

Mr Kemp’s practicum involved assisting with managing community programmes and national events for Basketball Manawatu. “The overall practicum experience and learnings I gained exceeded my original expectations… I can wholeheartedly say that without studying I wouldn’t have had a chance at getting this role,” he says.

Ms Buckhurst worked with Netball Manawatu leading their FutureFerns initiative. “I had so many amazing experiences that taught me so much, including applying for a full-time role, experiencing the full job interview process, and opportunities to build a name for myself in the community.”

Course Coordinator of the Sport and Exercise Practicum and Chair of the university’s Work-Integrated Learning Committee Professor Andy Martin says Massey is committed to providing students with real-world learning opportunities and has long standing relationships with industry partners in the areas of sport management, coaching and exercise prescription.

Professor Martin’s research has highlighted this approach to learning produces world-ready graduates, which not only benefits students but also the business community.

“Integrating working and learning helps the business community and industries grow as students provide fresh ways of thinking and working. Placing students in work places also provides supervisors with management and mentoring opportunities.”

Professor Martin says by placing students in work places, their skills, ideas and fresh thinking are helping to meet the challenges and needs of Aotearoa New Zealand’s society, economy and environment. The past six months have also provided opportunities for some students to work online, which have enhanced their adaptability and capability, and added value to their placement organisations and sport, exercise and school communities through these online initiatives.

The double semester practicum course is part of the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise and Bachelor of Sport Management, allowing students to focus on individual areas of interest and gain experience in the multi-disciplinary applied fields of sport management and development, physical education and activity, or exercise prescription and training. Students can choose to undertake a practicum in areas including sport event management, sport coaching, sport coordination, sport performance, exercise prescription, athlete conditioning, and more.

Dr Lynette Hodges coordinates the Exercise Prescription Clinic in Palmerston North and says the practicum enhances students’ employability.

Recent exercise practicum graduates Grayson Nicholls and Cassidy Slade initially secured roles with Xalt and Zenith Fitness, respectively. Mr Nicholls is now undertaking sport and exercise postgraduate study at Massey and Ms Slade is a well-respected exercise consultant at City Fitness.

Mr Nicholls’ practicum involved working with clients performing postural analysis and appropriate fitness tests along with supervising fitness sessions. He says he gained confidence throughout the experience. “I gained a deeper understanding of different injuries and illnesses, as well as treatments and there processes. I am confident at performing client consultations, exercise testing and developing exercise plans as a result of this experience.”

Ms Slade worked at Zenith fitness during her practicum creating personalised programmes, fitness testing and designing and instructing a number of different group fitness classes. “I gained a vast amount of confidence working with clients and have been able to apply my skills learnt at university,” she says.

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