AIF graduate Mitchell Bird is a walking example of how a fitness qualification from an institute like the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) can take you in all sorts of directions. Today, Mitchell gets to design obstacle courses for a living – but he’s certainly been on a journey to get there!
With a childhood passion for Taekwondo from age seven, movement was always important to Mitchell. He had his blackbelt by age 12 and was the head instructor at the Tae-Kwon-Do centre where he trained by age 17.
“My time in Taekwondo allowed me to develop a passion for helping students grow and achieve their goals. Pair this with a love for movement and it was an easy transition into personal training,” said Mitch.
Mitch completed his Certificate 3 & 4 at the Australian Institute of Fitness, in 2011 and said it’s what kick-started his career in fitness formally, giving him the grounding he needed to follow his passions successfully.
“Studying with AIF was a great kick start into the industry. It gave me the chance to surround myself with likeminded people that shared similar goals to me. This allowed me to develop valuable relationships within the industry. The quality and dedication of the teachers was also important. I’ve worked with many similar organisations since, and this still stands out as a point of difference.
“Whilst the course is quite broad, studying my cert 3 and 4 with AIF gave me the opportunity to experience a wide variety of opportunities within the industry. This exposure was incredibly beneficial in helping me to decide what direction I wanted to head in.”
Upon graduating, Mitchell started as a Personal Trainer at Genesis Health + Fitness Warners Bay and worked his way up the ranks, securing a role as Fitness Division Coordinator three years later and then buying his own Genesis gym at Charlestown a few years after that.
His background in martial arts and love for skills-based training modalities, however, kept him searching for something more – and that’s when he found Ninja Parc in 2019.
“I’ve dabbled in everything from gymnastics and parkour to weightlifting and yoga. Taking the National Programs Manager role at Ninja Parc was a great chance for me to combine my passion for skill-based training with the business skills I had developed through my time as a franchisee with Genesis.”
Ninja Parc is a network of high-energy indoor obstacle courses across Australia that combine fun with physical challenges to inspire kids, families and adults to develop a love for movement. Mitchell is currently based at Ninja Parc Newcastle.
“From a high level, my role as the National Programs Manager means that I’m responsible for anything physical across all sites. This includes everything from course design to program creation, program implementation, staff training and customer feedback. In more recent times I’ve also taken on a lot of the operational responsibilities like managing financial targets, recruitment, auditing and more.”
His growing prominence in the Ninja space also saw him selected as an official course tester for this year’s Australian Ninja Warrior on Channel Nine.
“There are a couple of elements to course testing. The first is testing the actual obstacles before heats are filmed. This is done as if you are an actual competitor on the show. The second is film testing. This gives everyone from the lighting technicians to camera operators and even the hosts a chance to practice before they do the real thing. It’s a very professional and fast passed environment.”
With interest in ninja growing rapidly around Australia, Ninja Parc is on the hunt for more staff and franchisees to join their group. For more information about careers with Ninja Parc head to www.ninjaparc.com.au/careers/