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Dreams to train top athletes

Former St Matthew’s Collegiate pupil Jaimee Taylor, 23. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

In a field dominated by men, Jaimee Taylor hopes to prove herself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to training elite athletes.

The St Matthew’s Collegiate old girl, now 23, has spent the past four summers working at CLM Masterton, in between her studies towards achieving a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in Physical Activity and Health at University of Otago, and juggling other work to keep herself on track financially.

Now graduated, Jaimee will be launching into her postgraduate studies in physical conditioning by correspondence from Wellington while working an internship at High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Physical conditioning is the development of physical fitness through tailored training programmes and it is a fundamental fitness step for athletes in sports like hockey, rugby, netball, cycling and athletics.

Jaimee hopes to one day work with the best sporting teams in New Zealand and internationally, but is taking things one step at a time.

It has meant partying has had to take a back seat, but Jaimee says her journey proves that with a lot of determination and hard work, anyone can make their tertiary dreams come true.

“When I finished school, I wasn’t quite ready to go to uni, so I decided to go on a gap year,” Jaimee said.

“I went to Canada for a year and I was a teacher’s assistant at a school over there.

“Then I worked at a summer camp and while I was there, I decided I wanted to go do sports.”

The first year of Jaimee’s studies, she received a student allowance – “which was great, but I had to get a job too”.

“I got a job pretty much in O-week (orientation week).

“Living was really expensive that first year because it worked out to be something like $350-$400 a week for the hall (university residence).

“My student allowance was $230 a week, and I worked 10-12 hours each week as well, plus full-time study, and doing work experience.

“I had $30 spending money at the end of the week.

“Everyone else was going out, and I’d be turning up for work on a Sunday morning.”

This year as she launches into postgraduate study based in Wellington, her rent will be about $230 a week.

“The internship I’m doing will run until December – and that’s 10-15 hours a week unpaid.

“So, I have to study, then I have my internship, and then I have to get a part time job as well – it’s going to be a hectic year, but it will be really good.”

She hopes next year, she will land a paid job in her field.

Of course, there were other things and people who influenced her career choice, namely her father Wayne Taylor who has been heavily involved in training rugby players both in New Zealand and internationally.

“Ultimately, I want to work with elite athletes too,” Jaimee said.

“I’m not worried about which sport . . . but I really want to work with a male team to break that barrier and prove that women can do what men can do.”

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