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TAFE NSW Shellharbour helps weightlifting champ get a career lift

TAFE NSW Shellharbour

TAFE NSW Shellharbour helps weightlifting champ get a career lift

TAFE NSW Shellharbour has helped a local weightlifter tap into the booming fitness field.

20 October 2022

TAFE NSW Shellharbour has helped a promising young weightlifter flex his professional muscle by setting him up for a career in the booming field of personal training.

Despite struggling with depression and anxiety, Barrack Heights 21-year-old Jack Barbour has twice broken the national deadlifting age record in recent months, most recently hoisting an incredible 337.5kg in April.

Keen to turn his passion into a career, Mr Barbour has completed a Certificate III and Certificate IV in Fitness at TAFE NSW Shellharbour and is eyeing a future as a strength and conditioning coach.

Barrie Elvish, CEO of the Australian fitness industry’s peak body AUSactive, recently said an exodus of fitness instructors from the industry during COVID, combined with a flurry of new gym memberships, had created a “perfect storm of opportunity” for those wanting to work in the industry.

“Demand for fitness instructors is growing rapidly and gyms are struggling to get qualified staff,” Mr Elvish said. “We see TAFE NSW as an important part in getting quality graduates coming through.”

Mr Barbour, who also holds a Diploma of Engineering from TAFE NSW, said the hands-on, practical skills he learned studying fitness at TAFE NSW Shellharbour had given him the confidence to pursue a career in the field.

“As part of our course, we spent lots of time working with clients and wrote programs for them and I could feel my confidence grow,” Mr Barbour said.

“As a result, it doesn’t feel daunting for me to throw myself into the jobs market.”

Mr Barbour plans to start his career as a personal trainer and hopes to eventually open his own gym specialising in strength and conditioning.

“I’m so excited about helping people become a better version of themselves and sharing my passion for health and fitness with them,” Mr Barbour said.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Fitness Paul Shannon said TAFE NSW Shellharbour was offering both the Certificate III and IV in Fitness for semester one, 2023.

“The local industry is crying out for new entrants and I’m fielding calls regularly from gym owners looking for TAFE NSW graduates,” Mr Shannon said.

“COVID has had a huge impact on the industry and there’s never been a better time to join.”

He said TAFE NSW Shellharbour had a state-of-the-art gym on campus for students to use when designing gym sessions for clients. Job opportunities for graduates included working as fitness instructors or personal trainers, Mr Shannon said.

To explore the range of courses available at TAFE NSW and via TAFE Digital, visit or phone 131 601 for more information.

Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428