Nottingham Trent University’s new academy aims to reduce health inequalities in the local community while boosting students’ employability skills for the health and fitness sector.
This September will see the launch of a Sport and Wellbeing Academy at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) offering exercise and nutritional support and advice for patients via NHS referral. Following a year of planning, Clifton and Meadows NHS Primary Care Network Social Prescribing Service will refer patients to the academy located at NTU’s Clifton Campus. In addition to enhancing the health and wellbeing of local people, the academy will provide students with essential experience, under qualified supervision, during their studies to equip them for skilled roles in careers such as clinical exercise physiology, youth coaching and sports performance.
It will also help them develop the skills needed to launch their own consultancy services in associated health and fitness and sports industries. “There is a clear health inequality for numerous groups and areas around the UK. We are passionate about helping to bridge that gap and at the same time give students the opportunity to develop hands on experience of working within the health and fitness industry, NHS Social Prescribing Service and Sport Performance sector,” says Professor Angus Hunter, head of Sports Science in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology. “As far as we are aware, we are one of the first universities offering this type of service whilst giving students the necessary employability skills for graduate employment.” Housed within existing space at NTU, the academy will offer a studio equipped with functional fitness and assessment equipment as well as consultation rooms for private client one-to-one discussions. Five new roles will be created - two senior health and wellbeing practitioners, one marketing, one admin and one technician – to run the academy.
The practitioners will work with students to oversee and supervise them working with members of the community and referred clients. Patients will receive a health and fitness assessment and supervised exercise prescription in an accessible and friendly environment run by qualified practitioners. Running five days a week, subject to demand, the academy will also support NTU sports teams in areas such as strength and conditioning, performance and biomechanical analysis. It will also offer a pathway to sports coaching in primary and secondary schools in the Nottingham area, helping to facilitate local provision of ‘The Daily Mile’, a school-based physical activity initiative, and involve coaching multi-sports and specialist sports in schools. “We are a research-led teaching institution with a fantastic reputation for employability and research.
NTU is committed to serving local communities and has numerous projects that have evidenced these relationships. This important initiative will provide a free referral service and tackle local inequalities to support people’s health and wellbeing. Newly-appointed practitioners, university researchers and students will combine to make this a safe, welcoming and dedicated space. “Sport and exercise science at NTU has rapidly evolved over recent years and this is an opportunity to bring together our world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art equipment to create a real impact in the community.”