It wasn’t too long ago that Lindsey Bradbury was working up a sweat at Mind to Muscle in Barrie under the watchful eye of a fitness trainer.

In September, the student became the teacher as Bradbury started a 14–week internship at the athletic conditioning centre as part of her studies in Humber College’s fitness and health promotion (FHP) program.

“I would help clients and take them through their workout program,” says the soon-to-be graduate, whose goal is to work as an athletic therapist. “It was a very good place to learn lots of new exercises and gain experience working with the general population and athletes and sports teams."

That type of hands-on activity is part of what makes Humber’s program so appealing to students, according to fitness and health program co-ordinator Denise Gardner. The FHP program is the largest of its kind in Ontario, with first-time enrolment in the program jumping to 255 this year from 145 last year.

“I think people are really appreciating the importance of physical activity and physical fitness in their lives,” says Gardner.

A key component of the program are two work placements students must complete. An off-campus internship is preceded by an on-campus internship, where students train staff members and faculty twice a week for 15 weeks.

Ninety-six per cent of Humber’s FHP students are hired in their field within six months after graduation, according to Gardner. Qualified graduates are also given the option of applying their diploma toward a Bachelor of Applied Science program in kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber.

The demand for hands-on skills prompted Humber to introduce a post-graduate certificate program in September.

Erin Leveille came to the two-semester program with an undergraduate degree in psychology and hopes to apply the sum of her education as a life coach. “I felt that I had the theory with the psychology, and this program would give me the practical science aspect to exercise and physical activity,” she says.

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