Skills Active Aotearoa award winners finish the year on a high

January 15, 2018

A promoter of volunteers and a pair of community exercise heroes were the recipients of the final awards for 2018 from Skills Active Aotearoa, the industry training organisation for recreation, exercise, sport and performing arts.

The Skills Active Volunteer Development Award went to Gavin Stoddart, fitness team leader at Club Active Kilbirnie, which is part of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. Part of Gavin’s role is recruiting and coordinating the volunteers who contribute to the exercise programme at Club Active, and this includes supporting them to complete on-job qualifications.

Often the volunteers are people considering a career change into the world of fitness, and getting their first qualification is a major boost to their professional exercise pathway.

Gavin is pictured below with the colleague who nominated him, Gillian Christian. Gillian said the dedicated volunteer system he headed up was highly successful, and praised his focus on mentoring, and emphasis on learning new skills in situ.

1901 Gavin


Meanwhile, the Skills Active Small Business Award went to The Lab Training Centre in Napier. The Lab is a high-performing exercise business that puts its local community at the centre of everything it does, and supports young Māori to thrive and succeed, through industry training.

Co-owners Patrick and Theresa O’Brien (pictured at top) have become Skills Active assessors, and now take on members who have the desire and the potential to become qualified fitness professionals, and support them through on-job qualifications.

In doing so, they are not only showing trainees they believe in them, and growing talent for their own organisation, they are also increasing the overall skill, knowledge and professionalism of the exercise workforce.

Both of the Skills Active award winners received a carved trophy, and a grant towards future learning and development requirements.

“Talented people like Gavin, Patrick and Theresa put in the hard work because they love what they do, and they are passionate about the difference that exercise – and qualified exercise professionals – make in people’s lives,” says Skills Active chief executive Dr Grant Davidson.

“It’s exciting for us to be able to give them some much-deserved recognition for the part they play in making this country a happier and healthier place.”


Media contact for Skills Active

Esther McLaren

021 195 5127

About Skills Active

Skills Active Aotearoa is the industry training organisation for recreation, exercise, sport and performing arts. We are a non-profit organisation, funded by government to promote careers and workforce development in our industries, work with those industries to create world-class qualifications, and support workplaces to train staff.