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Mount Annan Leisure Centre has become the first gym in NSW to deliver a unique Female Wellness Project for young women in Western Sydney, with the help of a TAFE NSW graduate.
TAFE NSW alumna Marilyn Oliver completed a Certificate III and IV in Fitness at TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields and is now changing the lives of young women in south-west Sydney by helping establish the project to teach women aged 12 to 18 to feel comfortable with their bodies and in the gym.
Inspired to make a change after growing up around young women who had negative body images and eating disorders, Marilyn’s program is subsidised by Camden Council and teaches women nutrition tips, how to comfortably use gym equipment, as well as wellness activities like meditation to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Marilyn, a Campbelltown resident, is a fitness coordinator at Mount Annan Leisure Centre and has also developed mental health programs for young locals as well as helped write the NSW fitness strategic plan, which has been implemented by The Y gyms across the state.
She also returned to TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields to teach fitness, which gave her the opportunity to reflect on how far she had come in her career.
“I left school in year 10 to pursue my dream and I’m lucky that at 25 I have already achieved it and been able to help many young people get back their self-confidence and physical health,” she said.
“Studying fitness at TAFE NSW was very hands-on, like being in a gym would be, which is why I believe I excelled in the course. We even had to bring in real clients to train as part of the course,” she said.
Growth in the fitness sector has been driven by a rising health consciousness in Australia, high obesity rates and growth in discretionary incomes. Over the last 12 months, there have been over 1,220 online job postings for fitness instructors in Australia. 
Mount Annan Leisure Centre Manager, Terrianne Hart, said Marilyn brought a wealth of knowledge to her role.
“Marilyn has a passion for helping people, particularly young women, live healthier lives and she has shown this attitude from the day she started work, which is why she was awarded the Y’s Staff Member of The Year out of 17,000 people,” Ms Hart said.
TAFE NSW Head of Health, Well-being & Community Services, Anne Goonetilleke, said the Certificate IV in Fitness provides students with practical skills needed to tackle the industry.
“TAFE NSW maintains relationships with medical and allied health professionals to afford fitness students to gain the practical skills they need to eventually provide health and fitness programs to clients and plan, manage and market a successful small business,” Ms Goonetilleke said.
To find out more about studying fitness at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au, or call 131 601.
Media contact: Jessica Cortis, Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211.