Physical education jobs: The job market for students with disabilities
As more students and employers embrace the world of science and technology, physical education jobs are gaining a foothold in the field.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released its National Survey of Employed Persons (NEP) report, which included information about employment in physical education and fitness.
This report includes employment information for students in Australian universities and other tertiary institutions, and the ABS estimates there are around 4,600 people with disabilities working in the physical education industry in Australia.
“Our NEP data is used by the Australian government to inform policy, as well as provide an insight into employment trends, such as: the nature of the jobs for students and their employment needs, and how they compare to other professions, such the public and private sectors, and jobs that are currently vacant,” says Dr. Susan Pritchard from the Australian Institute of Physical Education and Sport.
She says the report provides valuable information about the physical activity and health needs of students and the community.
“It’s not about what you wear or the things you wear, it’s about what’s on the plate and what the physical skills are required to do those things,” she says.
“What students need to understand is how physical activity is an integral part of what they’re learning and how the physical activities they do can enhance the quality of their education, and also the health of their health.”
And this also has an impact on their wellbeing, whether it’s related to mental health, or whether it relates to a lack of physical activity.
“So we’ve also identified the types of physical activities students need as part of their physical education learning.
So we can see where students are currently doing these activities, where they’ve been doing them, and we can help them understand where they can do more of it.”
The ABS says it was also able to find that around two thirds of students who had disabilities had no qualifications or had low levels of experience in the industry.
Dr Pritcher says there are more than 80 different types of disabilities in Australia, and physical education teachers often work in different areas.
“In a lot of these occupations, the person who’s actually working on that job will be working with people who have different abilities,” she explains.
“Sometimes that means that they may be able to teach in a particular area, but they may not have the expertise in that area.”ABS says more than half of physical education occupations require a bachelor’s degree, and more than 40 per cent of students report they need a qualification in some type of physical fitness.
Dr. Pritich says the key is to provide physical education students with skills and knowledge that enable them to engage with their body.
“You know what’s important, the physical exercise they do, the amount of physical work they do and the type of sport they do in, for example, an outdoor sporting activity, which is where the majority of physical exercise is done,” she said.
“There’s a need to have physical education skills, and I think that’s the challenge that we have in physical learning in Australia.”
To find out more about the Australian Physical Education Job Survey, visit the ABS website.