TAFE Queensland fitness graduate Yolandie Weir has plenty to celebrate after taking out the Fitness Australia Student of the Year Award at the 2019 Australian Fitness Awards on Thursday 11 April.
Yolandie flew to Sydney for the ceremony, where she was recognised by her peers for her commitment to the fitness industry and the impact she has had on her community.
The national award came as a surprise to the humble mother of two, who said she was honoured just to be made a finalist.
“It was amazing just to be there — I sat next to people who have built very successful franchises and I got to pick their brains which was unreal,” Yolandie said.
“When they said my name, I looked at Mum and she looked back at me to check we’d heard correctly. I’ve made so many sacrifices to get to this point and there were times where I had an immense amount of self doubt and considered putting my goals on hold. But with the support and encouragement of others I got through it, and it has been so worth it.
“This award is an acknowledgement of all that hard work. I wanted to set an example for my boys to never give up, and this just reinforces that I made the right choice.”
It’s the second time in just five months that Yolandie's outstanding efforts have been celebrated, with the high achiever also awarded Student of the Year at TAFE Queensland’s Sunshine Coast graduation in December last year.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think what I was doing would result in all this,” Yolandie said.
“To be recognised for doing something I’m so passionate about is just amazing.”
Having spent 28 years as an elite athlete representing Australia, Yolandie is no stranger to the dedication required to succeed. During her career she won national championships in gymnastics, marathon kayaking and powerlifting as well as achieving an all time world ranking of two for powerlifting. Her determination is a trait she brought with her to her studies at TAFE Queensland, with Yolandie consistently going above and beyond to achieve excellence for not only herself, but also for her clients.
TAFE Queensland General Manager Ana Rodger said the organisation is immensely proud of Yolandie and everything she has achieved.
“Yolandie has gone above and beyond in pursuit of her goals, and her hard work and determination to succeed is certainly worth recognition,” Ms Rodger said.
“It is a privilege to play such an important role in helping students turn their goals into reality and reach their full potential. We could not be more proud of Yolandie and can’t wait to see what else she accomplishes in the future.”
After 28 years competing at the top of her game, Yolandie decided it was time to share her knowledge with others, enrolling in a Certificate IV in Fitness/Diploma of Sports Development (SIS40215/SIS50612) dual qualification with TAFE Queensland in preparation for the next step in her career. And while she still competes in boxing and Olympic weighlighting, she now has a new passion, helping others achieve their goals. She's also set her sights on eventually opening her own facility specialising in training people with chronic medical conditions.
“I’ve started at uni studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, which I love, and I’m now working at Jamie Milne Training as a strength and conditioning and boxing for fitness coach,” Yolandie said.
“I also develop and oversee their kids program which has provided a unique, exciting opportunity for me to take the best of all my training experiences from several different sports and combine them in one program.
“In addition to that, I’m training my own clients; many of them are actually people I met during my training assessment at TAFE Queensland who have continued to train with me.
“It’s been an incredibly busy few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”