Gareth said goodbye to the 9 to 5 and has never looked back

After spending 20 years in data analysis, undertaking a long, daily commute and longing for a more practical career, a sports massage session provided keen runner Gareth with the drive to go from client to therapist, with the help of Preston’s College.

Starting employment in 1991 after successfully completing a range of traditional A-Levels, Gareth began working in data analysis and over time climbed the ranks to a highly successful career. However, a love of running, a longing to move away from a desk job and a long commute into Manchester provided the catalyst he needed to think about a career change.

Having spent time as a sports massage client, Gareth had a natural curiosity about the subject and after speaking to others about the role realised that it was his ambition to switch the desk for a more practical role.

Beginning to research his options, Gareth found Level 3 Sports Massage courses, the minimum level of qualification needed to practice, at a range of colleges local to his home near Bolton. After initial enquires, Gareth attended an Adult Advice Event at Preston’s College and was impressed with the facilities and tutor knowledge, coupled with the highly competitive course fee and condensed timetable, which would allow him to complete the course in 13 weeks.

Enrolling in September 2016, after 35 years away from the classroom, Gareth was initially nervous about being the oldest in the class and having not studied in a college setting for many years. However, upon meeting tutor, Dave and the rest of his class, Gareth’s fears quickly disappeared as he immersed himself in both the practical and theory based sessions provided by the course, whilst also continuing to work in data analysis on a part-time basis.

Studying in a small group of no more than 16, Gareth embraced a new found love for learning a subject he was passionate about as he studied a variety of modules from Anatomy and Physiology to massage techniques; theory which complemented the highly practical elements of the course.

Upon successful completion of the course, Gareth decided to enrol on the Level 4 Sports Massage course at Preston’s College, allowing him to gain an additional qualification and take his studies of the subject to an even higher level. Encouraged to pursue his passion by tutor Dave, Gareth was able to fund his Level 4 qualification with an Advanced Learner Loan.

With an ambition to run his own Sports Massage business, upon graduating from the Level 4 qualification at Preston’s College, Gareth continued to work part-time, whilst establishing himself as a reputable Sports Massage therapist and in that time Thrive Sports Massage was born. Through advertising on social media, local advertising and positive client feedback and referrals, Gareth quickly built a flourishing business that rapidly became too big to be part-time. Taking the plunge to quit his paid employment completely in August 2018, Gareth is now living his dream as the owner of a highly successful Sports Massage business with a client base of over 420! Commenting he said:

“Clients come from all backgrounds and include keen athletes who undertake regular sessions to those looking for one or two sessions to help a particular problem or injury.”

Continuing, he added:

“When treating a client for the first time, I refer to the initial client assessment form created as part of my course at Preston’s College and use all of the theory and practical experience learnt, daily. Moreover, I always have the words of tutor Dave in my mind and ‘treat what I see’, a mantra that is vital for success in this industry.”

Gareth’s advice to anyone else considering the Sports Massage courses at Preston’s College is to ‘go for it!’ with the content of the courses studied and achievement of the two qualifications allowing him to pursue his dream. Commenting he said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Preston’s College and am still in contact with my tutor, Dave. He was so supportive not only during my time on the two courses but during the early stages of setting up my business and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the qualifications in Preston to anyone. I have never looked back. My only regret is not doing it sooner! I am now doing a job that I love and when you love what you do, you aren’t really working at all!”

To find out more about the range of fitness related courses available for September 2020 entry, click here. To apply, click here.

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