Jayden Leslie completed his schooling at Central Southland College. Not feeling pressured to rush into study until he had made up his mind as to what pathway he wanted to take, he worked for a year and a half at New World supermarket while considering his options. After hearing about Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)’s Zero Fees Scheme from his parents, he had a look into the courses on offer and narrowed his interests down to studying either Sport and Exercise, or Massage.
While not settled on an exact career path, Jayden knew he wanted to get paid to keep fit and active so becoming a personal trainer appealed, with massage therapy another option. Having missed the cut off date to apply for both degree courses, he decided to test the waters in massage by enrolling in a shorter Certificate course. “My logic was, if I enjoyed the massage certificate I would do the massage degree the next year and if I did not enjoy it, I would do the personal training course. That was over three years ago now and I can comfortably say I enjoyed the massage course, hence why I am almost finished.”
Now in his 3rd year of the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage, Jayden has found the course enjoyable, with small class sizes allowing for an emphasis on tutor/student time. Having discovered a love for the anatomy side of things and enjoying the exams more than the assignments, he has learned a great deal, especially since he never considered himself any good at science while at school.
Currently working out of the YMCA, Jayden works part time as a massage therapist in the same clinic as an osteopath. Applying for the job after his tutor at SIT emailed the class with the job vacancy, he was interviewed and was offered the position. The osteopath sometimes refers patients through to Jayden or they can simply book in for a therapeutic massage.
Having played casual netball and volleyball while studying at SIT, Jayden has also massaged at a few dozen sporting events, ranging from one day to a week long. “Each event is different, from working with marathon runners to hockey players, gymnastics athletes and professional rugby players, including the Woodlands Premier Rugby team until the season ended a few weeks ago.” Working with sports people is something he enjoys as it ties in his love of sports and fitness with massage. Looking to the future, Jayden hopes to be “working with a national (or elite) sporting team in New Zealand or anywhere around the world. I would like to think I would be somewhere in Europe, working and travelling with elite teams and work the rest of the time in my own massage clinic.”
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