Jyi Dalli is among a surge of Queenslanders who have decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry with the number of Certificate III in Fitness enrolments at TAFE Queensland's Mooloolaba campus nearly doubling on this time last year. Picture: Supplied
Jyi Dalli is among a surge of Queenslanders who have decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry with the number of Certificate III in Fitness enrolments at TAFE Queensland's Mooloolaba campus nearly doubling on this time last year. Picture: Supplied

Fitness students double as COVID-19 prompts career change

Since losing a friend in a car accident Jyi Dalli has endeavoured to do more with his life.

He is now among a surge of Queenslanders who have decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry.

The number of certificate III in fitness enrolments at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus has nearly doubled on this time last year.

After suffering back and shoulder injuries as a landscaper, Mr Dalli enrolled in the course to help his recovery, but now wants to complete a certificate IV or diploma to become a personal trainer.

“I’ve always loved the gym and exercising – I started at 17 and it’s always been a constant in my life – but I never thought about it as a career until after COVID-19 hit,” he said.

“I loved the course from the moment I sat down for orientation.

“It’s amazing to think how far I’ve come in such a short time. When I’d gone to my physio for my injuries, I had no idea why I was doing certain exercises and how they were supposed to help me. Now, I’m learning why it’s all so important.”

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Mr Dalli thought he had found his passion when he quit a teaching degree to start a landscaping apprenticeship with a small family-run business, but when tragedy struck and his boss Paul passed away unexpectedly, his plans began to unravel.

“Because it was such a small business everything was left up in the air. I was lucky enough to qualify through another business, then moved on to a commercial building company, but it just wasn’t the same without Paul,” he said.

“I’d just started at a new business when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, so when the restrictions came in, I was laid off.”

Having previously lost one of his close friends in a car accident, Mr Dalli had promised himself he would do more with his life and decided to escape a spiralling depression and use his redundancy as an opportunity to start fresh.

Having already changed his career path once before, the 22-year-old thought he had found his passion in landscaping – so when he was confronted with the prospect of starting over again, he had no idea where to begin.

Now seven months on and on the path to a rewarding career in fitness, Mr Dalli said the experience had a silver lining, enabling him to assess his goals and discover his true calling.

TAFE Queensland Leading Vocational Teacher for Fitness, Brett King attributed the increase to the versatility of the fitness industry.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen a shift to a more health conscious culture, which I think COVID-19 has accelerated in many ways – people have either used this time to work on their health, or have gone in the opposite direction and are now seeking assistance to get back on the right track,” Mr King said.