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EIT graduate committed to helping children with fitness goals

June 23, 2022

Laura Finlayson, who graduated from EIT Tairāwhiti with a NZ Certificate in Exercise [Level 5] last year, enjoys helping children achieve their fitness goals.

Helping children achieve their fitness goals and making it fun for them is a highlight for Gisborne fitness instructor Laura Finlayson, who graduated from EIT Tairāwhiti with a NZ Certificate in Exercise [Level 5] last year.

Laura, 34, is Group Fitness Coordinator at a Gisborne gym, Primal Fitness, where she first began running classes in 2020.

Originally from Australia, Laura was backpacking around New Zealand  about 12 years ago when she decided to settle in Gisborne.

“I was a legal secretary at a law firm back home in Brisbane, but when I moved over here, I did the tourist thing and also did seasonal work. When I moved to Gisborne, I joined a little fitness studio as a client. That led to eventually getting a full-time job there and then getting this job at Primal Fitness.”

“I joined Primal Fitness as a client probably about 18 months and then I started doing some programmes in TRX Suspension Training that I am qualified to do.”

Laura says the owner of Primal Fitness, Brian Horwell, encouraged her to enrol in the NZ Certificate in Exercise [Level 4], followed by the NZ Certificate in Exercise [Level 5].

“I was all signed up and ready to do it online, but Brian and the EIT lecturer Ashleigh Sheldrake encouraged me to do it through EIT.”

Brian is himself a graduate of EIT’s NZ Certificate in Exercise [Level 5] programme.

Laura, who did both programmes last year, says that it is a decision she has not regretted.

“The qualification is amazing, and the programme really puts you out there in the community. Ash pushed us out of our comfort zone by getting us to meet new people and make connections in the community, which has been invaluable.”

She says she enjoyed learning about health and fitness, as well as the body and how it moves.

“We had quite a small class, so it was quite cool to be surrounded by people with the same visions and the same dreams as you.”

Laura, who enjoyed playing sport growing up, especially netball, says she enjoys working out as it is for her own health and fitness.

“When I started going to gyms, I grew to love the reasons why people were coming there,  and I thought that I wanted to be a part of that and to help people out with their wellness.”

She says that she particularly enjoys training children and has this year created, designed and implemented a programme designed for 5-to-12-year-old kids.

“I absolutely love seeing kids come into my class when they are shy and don’t know everyone and then to watch their confidence grow over the eight-week programme.”

“They come in and we have fun, I get them involved in designing what type of workout or circuit we’re going to do that day, and help them build friendships, confidence and self-esteem.”

“Sharing that with the kids is something that I absolutely love and I’m very blessed to have a space where I can create that and pass it on to the kids for them to enjoy.”

Ondene van Dulm, EIT’s Head of the School of Health and Sport Science, says: “Laura’s journey offers a great example of how a qualification from EIT can support a career change into something one is really passionate about. It’s very rewarding to see her success in this industry and community.”