RNC students put their skills on show at the NEC

Mike is standing at the front of a class, wearing a headset, as he instructs the class. In the background there are various pieces of gym equipment such as balls, a dumbbell and an exercise bike. There are groups of people walking around in the background.]

On Saturday 19 November, students from RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) were invited to demonstrate their talent at the Skills Show hosted at the NEC, Birmingham, in order to showcase inclusive fitness.


Second year Sport and Recreation student Mike Fleet, 18 from Bury St Edmunds, shared the floor with the finalists of the competition and the pressure of crowds of people gathering to watch him lead two 30 minute fitness classes. Understandably he was nervous but explains “Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have done this a few months ago but the course has prepared me well with the skills and practice I needed.” As part of their course, Sport and Recreation students take it in turns to lead two fitness classes per week for members of the public at our leisure centre, thePoint4, which boasts over 1000 members.


The spectators at the NEC responded positively to Mike’s sessions and he said “It felt good instructing in front of a crowd and great that people were taking an interest in inclusive fitness instructing. RNC has taught me to be confident, believe in what you’re doing and embrace every opportunity that you get. It’s not every day that you stand up in front of a crowd at the NEC; I take pride in what I’m doing and the College that I’m representing.”


Sport and Recreation teacher Aaron Rees said “I was really proud of the students, they acted very professionally on the day. Mike ran in to a bit of trouble with some of the plyometric exercises because the floor wasn’t right but he managed to compose himself, think on his feet and alter the session so seamlessly that I doubt anyone would have noticed. I couldn’t have asked for more.”


The Skills Show was an event aimed at showing young people where their career paths could lead and Aaron Rees adds “The students had a lot of interaction with other instructors and learned tips on how to profile themselves in the future and they were able to try out new pieces of equipment that we don’t have here at the College.”

Mike, Ben, teacher Aaron Rees, Matt and Josh are sitting around in a big circle in sit up positions with their arms stretched to the sides. There is lots of gym equipment in the background such as balls, a tread mill and exercise bike etc. There is a crowd gathered in the background with someone taking photos.]

A perfect demonstration of core strength – V sit ups!












The event was run in partnership with the Association of Colleges and Natspec who wanted to showcase the inclusive skills that can be offered by specialist colleges. Clare Howard, Chief Executive at Natspec, says that in order to close the gap between employment levels of people with and without disabilities “Employers need to recognise that students with a disability can make a valuable contribution to their industry.”


At a recent awards ceremony, RNC was named ‘Specialist College of the Year’ for commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and our Principal Mark Fisher says “Attending events like this is so important both to boost the confidence of our students and also to challenge people’s misconceptions of what students with visual impairment can and can’t do.”


If you are interested in studying at RNC, please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk


We are always interested in speaking with organisations who may be able to provide student work placements, if you would like to discuss this further please call us on 01432 376 621 and ask to speak to our Transitions team.


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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