InstructAbility is a fitness industry training programme, specifically adapted to suit the needs of people with impairments. The programme was created by Aspire and YMCAfit.
Aspire is a national charity that provides practical support to people who have been paralysed by a Spinal Cord Injury. This expertise means we understand the issues people face following a traumatic injury and provide a mentor to support students throughout the programme.
Aspire is also an expert provider of inclusive leisure at the Aspire National Training Centre. We work closely with the Inclusive Fitness Initiative and are in a strong position to broker opportunities within the fitness industry for our students.
YMCAfit is one the UK’s leading fitness training providers in the field of exercise, fitness and activity for health; driven by the belief that everyone in society is entitled to the health benefits of regular physical activity.
Spencer Vaughan – Royal Marine
Spencer was born in Wales and has always been a very active and sporty person. He played rugby and enjoyed surfing and motor-cross. He joined the Royal Marines when he was 20yrs old and passed out in 2009.
During his first year of general duties Spencer sustained a spinal cord injury whilst on an adventure training exercise, which left him paralysed from the chest down. Spencer says of his injury,
“You just have to get on with it. You have to deal with it and focus on what you have got and what you can do. I still have goals and still want to achieve and I hope I can inspire and motivate other people to move forward with their lives.”
Spencer undertook his placement at Plymouth Life Centre and he has been offered future employment. Guy Westwood, Fitness Manager, said,
“Spencer’s enthusiasm and willingness has been an inspiration to the team and customers alike. His colleagues have found themselves asking him nearly as many questions as he has asked them. Other staff have gained a far better knowledge of the daily challenges wheelchair users face and how they utilise the facilities we are providing.”
Spencer has been offered employment at the Plymouth Life Centre.
Maurillia Simpson - Army Communications Specialist
Maurillia signed up in her early 20's. She survived three tours of Iraq, including a near death experience during a mortar attack on her final tour. Whilst based in Germany to prepare for Afghanistan, she sustained a leg injury when she was knocked off the pavement by a civilian car. The resulting injury to her leg has required further surgery and months of rehabilitation but permanent injury now leads to discharge from the army.
She says, “The Army was my life, it was all I had ever wanted to do. I am doing the InstructAbility programme and I hope it will help me get my spark back.”
Maurillia is now a qualified instructor and has undetaken a work placement with Fitness First Romford. She says of the placement, “The experience is out of this world, the gym attracts so many different people, all ages, shapes, sizes, colour and creed, it has been really enlightening to work at this club. The InstructAbility programme has helped me to gain the skills as an instructor and the support from everyone involved has kept me positive in mind and spirit. I want to ensure this legacy continues for everyone whoever they are, whatever ability they have, we are all part of this world and we all belong here.”
Maurillia has impressed the Fitness First manager who is now discussing employment and career progression within the company.