Sarah Agius always had a passion for fitness. However as an Aboriginal woman she found limited opportunities and role models around her when it came to turning this passion into a career.
In 2011, Sarah applied for a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Fitness in Adelaide, and “could not believe her luck” when she succeeded. “At this stage in my life, it felt like I had won the lottery” Sarah said “before this a career in the fitness industry felt unreachable.”
Sarah obtained a scholarship through AIF’s The Monty Dortkamp Scholarship program, which was established to assist people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are having trouble gaining a fitness qualification and may also want to bring the fitness to disadvantaged groups or communities. After graduation, her qualification enabled her to work as a Healthy Lifestyle worker at Nunkuwarrin Yunti, a local Aboriginal Community.
“I am an Aboriginal woman” Sarah says “and being able to work with my own people in an area I am passionate about is a win/win!”
After launching her own career, Sarah became passionate about helping others in her community to get a start in the fitness industry. Having encountered gaps when it comes to Aboriginal fitness instructors, she decided to found the Aboriginal Fitness Professional Network.
With the help of Australian Institute of Fitness South Australia CEO, Brett Hopkins, Sarah was able use this network to facilitate scholarships for other Aboriginal students at the Australian Institute of Fitness.
“When I started in the industry, I only knew one other Aboriginal instructor” Sarah recalls. However, since the Aboriginal Fitness Professional Network’s scholarship program,she has already increased the Aboriginal instructors within South Australia by 7 since 2012 through support and training.
In her role as a Healthy Lifestyle Worker Sarah now organises fitness events and delivers programs, plus is currently involved in a number of projects that help generate opportunities for Aboriginal people in the fitness industry.