Groundbreaking new fitness college opens in Kinsale

Posted on: 18th January, 2016

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

With an estimated sixty per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children and teens now overweight or obese in Ireland and chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease on the rise, a groundbreaking new project in West Cork is aiming to change the course of preventable chronic disease in Ireland.

Recent figures predict that 89 per cent of Irish men and 85 per cent of Irish women will be overweight by 2030, putting Ireland at the top of an ‘overweight’ table of 53 countries.

With courses starting in March, Rogue Institute in Kinsale plans on tackling obesity and preventable chronic diseases head-on in 2016 by producing an army of highly qualified, inspirational health and fitness professionals. One of only two fitness colleges in Ireland to be accredited by ITEC in 2015, a qualification from Rogue is industry recognised in 38 countries around the world.

Rogue2With dedicated, state-of-the-art facilities, Rogue Institute will offer internationally approved weekend and full time courses in personal training and gym instruction and will also teach students about chronic disease prevention through diet and exercise.

Rogue Institute founders and husband and wife, Robert O’Rourke and Sylvia Guerin, have put together an impressive and highly qualified academic team of fitness professionals with nutritionist and exercise physiologist Kelly Berry at the helm, as Director of Education, to ensure the highest standard of programme delivery at the Institute.

With his background in running multinationals, Robert O’Rourke is now using this global business experience and knowledge in the management of the Institute and providing business mentorship to students.

Personal trainer and fitness instructor, Sylvia set up Rogue Fitness in Kinsale in 2004 and the company’s continued success is due in no small part to her passion, drive and dedication to creating change in the fitness industry. Many of Sylvia’s clients have been with her for 10 years.

With a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science and her commitment to enhancing the health and wellbeing of others, there is no doubt that Kelly’s expertise and passion will succeed in producing a new generation of fitness professional.

Rogue 4Along with academic colleague Andy Sheppard, Kelly developed the ‘Fit for Life’ intervention programme for young people in care, a groundbreaking project that was nominated for the Biomnis Health Initiative Award.

Andrew Sheppard is one of the country’s leading experts in the prevention and management of chronic conditions through lifestyle interventions. His lectures at Rogue will bring a new and innovative aspect to the teaching of fitness professionals.

The rest of the team comprises guest lecturers David Casey, who will help Rogue Institute students with the transition to the workplace and published academic author and nutrition consultant, Michael Hoad. Michael is an advisor to Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and 10 Downing Street.

Group exercise specialists and personal trainers Danielle Moynihan (current kettlebell world champion) and Dianne Buttimer are also on board.

“One of the unique things about Rogue Institute is that five out of six of our lecturers have Master’s degrees in education and or sports related disciplines,” says Robert. “I was hopeful we’d get ITEC accredited and after a lot of hard work and preparation we were absolutely delighted to have been approved on our first application, not to mention being only one of two colleges approved by ITEC in Ireland in 2015, despite ITEC having many many applicants. The ITEC review board liked the fact that we’re an existing dedicated fitness business and college in one and our location also was a factor — there is nothing else like this in the area.”

“Rogue Institute is about creating fitness professionals who will not only go out there and help people with the general mainstream fitness needs, but who will help people with illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and depression,” explains Kelly.

“We’re taking a more holistic approach at the Institute so that the overall wellbeing of the client and not just their fitness is looked after,” adds Sylvia.

Students will also be able to avail of unrivalled business mentorship. “Once qualified, there is the potential for students who are interested and qualify to become a part of the Rogue family availing of business mentorship, as well as a support system and possible investment,” says Robert.

“If you have the right support behind you, you can become a better trainer and progress faster in your career. It’s something I would have loved to have had when I was training,” says Sylvia. “Personal training is not just about reaching goals, it’s like life coaching. You’re working through a physical and emotional journey with clients. It’s important that you’re able to dedicate yourself fully to the client”.

Whether you’d like to work as a freelance trainer, work for someone else or one day run your own business, Rogue Institute plans to help its students realise that ambition.

“When I started working as a Personal Trainer in London, I didn’t have a clue about how to run a business or do tax returns. Taking into account all the struggles we’ve come up against over the years as personal trainers, we’ve created a support system for the benefit of our students,” explains Kelly.

“But Rogue Institute is much bigger than a school or a franchise, we’re looking at making a significant change to the health of the Irish nation. We’re looking for people who want to learn how to make a difference and a change in the health industry in Ireland.”

Rogue Institute is also running a health and fitness course with Leaving Certificate Applied students in Kinsale, commencing this week. The student who excels the most during the course will receive a €2,500 educational scholarship with Rogue Institute. The Rogue Institute ‘Kelly Berry Scholarship’ is inspired by Kelly’s own disadvantaged upbringing. Living on the streets of London at the age of 15 without any educational qualifications, Kelly worked her way up from a position of homelessness to become personal trainer to A-list celebrities and international royalty, not to mention receiving a Master’s Degree from Westminster University.

ITEC approved Certificate and Diploma weekend courses in Fitness Instruction and Personal Training start in March.

Additional courses in indoor cycling, kettlebells, nutrition, strength and conditioning and suspension training start this month and will run throughout the year, commencing end of January.

A gym instructor course for teenagers (over-16), qualifying young people to work as gym instructors in 38 countries, for example during their school summer holidays, commences this summer.  Each course will run over three weeks in the months of June, July and August. “A lot of young people fall outside the sports club circle, so even if they just do this course to benefit their own health and fitness awareness, it’s a good thing, being able to apply it to a well paid part time job, even better,” says Robert.

For more information on both part time and full time courses:

Phone: 021 4777538.


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