Eased isolation restrictions a boost for industry skill shortage

Eased isolation restrictions a boost for industry skill shortage

Getting back to ‘normal’ and hitting the gym or resuming other fitness activities to look after our health should be music to the ears of thousands of health and fitness businesses Australia wide, right?

In an industry that has borne the brunt of lockdowns and restrictions over the past two years, businesses are now facing a new problem as demand peaks to pre-COVD levels – a skills shortage.

93% of AUSactive businesses have advertised for new exercise professionals in the past 12 months and in the first three months of 2022 alone, 74% have put the call out for new positions.

AUSactive CEO Barrie Elvish said this week’s announcement that isolation restrictions for close contacts will be scrapped in Victoria and New South Wales from Friday was an important step in getting businesses back to full operation as quickly as possible.

“First we had lockdowns, then we had restrictions on capacity and in recent months our businesses have been faced with staff shortages due to close contact isolation rules,” Mr Elvish said.

“The impact of all these circumstances has seen our industry face an all-time skills shortage, just when many of our businesses have had a surge in new members and clients.

“We know a lot of casual employees, Group/Aqua Exercise Instructors and personal trainers had to seek other employment during the height of lockdown-induced closures and now we are seeing a ripple effect in keeping up with demand.”

Mr Elvish said the biggest positive to come out of the pandemic was people being more in-tune with their health and wellbeing and ensuring they remain mentally and physically fit.

“The pandemic had a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing, particularly mental health. Now that people can get back to normality, we are seeing more people with a heightened importance on looking after their health through fitness and exercise,” Mr Elvish said.

The AUSactive March 2022 Employment Survey found employers’ biggest need was Personal Trainers (34% of jobs advertised), followed by Group Exercise Instructors (18%).

In response to the survey results, AUSactive has launched a dedicated and free Jobs Board to help businesses fill the immediate need for qualified exercise professionals. To find out more visit the AUSactive Job Board.

Mr Elvish said AUSactive was also strengthening its relationships with Registered Training Organisations and universities to help train and place the next generation of exercise professionals.

“Our recent survey found less than 2% of businesses in our industry have a relationship with a university and less than 10% have a connection with an RTO. AUSactive currently has course mapping with thirteen universities nationally and we plan further expansion this year,” Mr Elvish said.

“The benefit of this relationship for students is they can get paid work or do practical training within AUSactive registered businesses, while for our business members it provides an avenue for a future talent pool of qualified and passionate exercise professionals.”

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