National Skills Week

The South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) is celebrating National Skills Week (NSW), held 22 – 28 August

NSW is an initiative of SkillsOne and aims to bring to life positive messages, highlighting the talents, the skills, the career pathways and the value of apprentices and trainees across Australia to the wider public and employers. The week is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning.

SASI provides career development services through Mark Gregory, Athlete Transition and Engagement Lead. The importance of athletes planning their post-sport lives, whilst striving for sporting success, is key to the development of the whole person; and vocational training is one aspect that can assist their development.

Kelly Fettes (Pictured above) has just returned from international competition where she and her ‘stoker’ Candice Kennedy competed in Para-Cycling Road World Cup and World Championship competitions. With 4 top five results, across four events, they are well placed for future national team selections.

When Kelly is not piloting a Para-Tandem, she balances work and study commitments. Many Athletes have casual roles, but few of these roles require formal VET qualifications. Kelly is a qualified Lifeguard, working at the South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre (SAALC) and completed her VET course whilst training and racing.

When asked about how she balances sport, work and study, Kelly was quick to note the support that SAALC offers her.

“Lifeguarding is such an important role which gives me a sense of community and purpose outside of my cycling endeavours. In my job I can be one of the first responders on someone’s bad day, but I can also be a friendly face and an ear to listen on their good day.

To maintain my qualification, I have participated in multiple updates and re-qualifications throughout the year to keep my knowledge and skills up to date; ensuring I can provide the best care for the people I come into contact with. The courses themselves are simple to complete however the context covered is literally lifesaving.

SAALC have been incredibly supportive of my cycling development and provide the flexibility and support I need to be able to train and compete at the level that has been required to gain selection for the 2022 Para Road World Championships as a tandem pilot. In partnership with SASI and SAALC I am grateful to have the support to be able to successfully balance work and sport.”

SAALC supports many SASI Athletes, and Alumni, with employment opportunities, and general Manager Adam Luscombe shared his reflections on the SASI / SAALC relationship.

“The Y, in the South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre operation, has a strong relationship with SASI. Both parties have worked hard over the last decade to ensure elite athletes have sustainable employment, work-life balance, and a career beyond their podium achievements. We are so proud of all these athlete cohorts.”

This example highlights the opportunities that vocational training can offer Athletes, and people that are seeking non-University study pathways. Employers like SAALC also see the value of the lived experience that Elite Athletes bring to their roles.

To see more on National Skills Week visit: