Living the dream with Supported Employment


Anton, has a passion for personal fitness but also has Ataxia which has meant he has had to use a wheelchair on a permanent base since age 14. He had settled for a future career in admin because he thought it was the only sort of work he'd be able to do.

Luckily, he met with a Team Leader from EmployAbility who helped him to explore his personal enthusiasm for fitness , which extended beyond lifting weights to an in-depth knowledge of physical anatomy and the body's response to exercise.

After extensive research EmployAbility were able to find a Fitness Training Course being jointly delivered through Aspire and YMCAfit and in August 2013, Anton started on his journey towards being a fitness instructor. Anton has since completed his Level 2 fitness instructor qualification and recently progressed onto a Level 3 disability and Exercise Module which qualifies him to work with clients with a disability.

A requirement of the module, is a work experience placement in a gym and after discussion and support from EmployAbility, Anton secured a placement with his local community gym, Fresh, in Shepperton.

‘Gary Kemish, the owner of Fresh Gym says "Becoming a personal trainer is a long process for any trainer, it’s important that you can entertain clients, but more important the knowledge is there to train them safely and effectively to gain results. With continued learning Anton is on the path to a successful career as a trainer. The most important skill as a trainer is to gain members trust and confidence by being personal. Members don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Anton has fitted in really well at Fresh with a wicked sense of humour that has broken down barriers of nervousness from members who may not have been helped in the gym before by someone in a chair. It is also important to practise what you preach too and Anton has certainly done this with wowing members with full body weight chin up's with his chair strapped to him."

Following his work experience at Fresh Gym, Anton has now been offered a paid contract there and is piloting a disability fitness group working with Surrey's adult social care in delivering exercise to local community groups, encouraging others with mobility difficulties and disabilities that working out and gaining a healthier lifestyle can be had by anyone and everyone, regardless!

Gary adds "Anton is an inspiration to anyone who feels they cannot follow a career due to physical limitations . With the support that is on offer from EmployAbility and Aspire, Anton is a role model of what is achievable."

And the final word from Anton," I am currently saving for a an off-road wheelchair with my sights set on climbing Snowden. I love being at Fresh and appreciate the support and encouragement I have received from both staff and members. I hope I can do the same to encourage and inspire others."