Melbourne Polytechnic graduate Alycia Benincasa was determined to work in the fitness industry but missed out on a degree place after school.
By enrolling in Melbourne Polytechnic’s Diploma of Sport (Development), she gained valuable knowledge and industry experience, and improved her chances of getting into university second time around.
At high school, Alycia Benincasa was always involved in sports, whether it was playing on the netball team or taking part in athletics. She also loved dancing and competed in school jazz and contemporary dance competitions. When she decided physical education teaching was the career for her, Alycia knew she would need a degree.
She didn’t get a university offer after high school but she did get a place on the Diploma of Sport (Development) at Melbourne Polytechnic. “I knew it would make it easier to get into uni if I did the course because I would be more qualified after two years study,” she says.
After graduating from the diploma last year, Alycia is now waiting to hear if she’s been accepted in to the RMIT degree course. She says the Melbourne Polytechnic diploma was an excellent introduction to sports development. “I really enjoyed it. It covered all areas including officiating, nutrition, high performance training and organising and training groups.” It was also good preparation for her degree. “I might get straight into second year. At Melbourne Polytechnic they cover heaps of the same content they do at uni, particularly aspects of sports nutrition and physiology.”
Students also complete industry placements as part of the course and Alycia did hers at Northern Knights Football Club. Afterwards, she was asked to stay on as a sports trainer part-time. “I do training sessions one day a week pre-season. Then during the season I train the under 18s on Saturdays. It’s challenging and a bit daunting at first. You learn on the job.” Alycia also did a placement at her old high school, St Monica’s College in Epping, helping to set up equipment, and store the kits. Thanks to her hard work there’s a job offer waiting when she finishes her degree. “I love everything about keeping fit. And I want to try and educate young people about the importance of health and fitness. It’s really challenging because of the technology and work commitments people have now. It’s hard to find the time.”
Ever since she started the course, Alycia has been focussed on making it to uni. “It was a really fun class. The teachers were helpful and always encouraging. They were really motivating, saying don’t give up otherwise it’s a waste.” Alycia achieved a string of HDs, winning a study grant worth $1000 for her efforts. “I knew I had to pass everything. That was my motivation so I really pushed myself.”
Diploma of Sport Development