Phil hits the ground running thanks to university’s help

Phil Holland, who is setting up his own business as a personal trainer with help from the Hope Street XChange in Sunderland. Picture by David Wood.
Phil Holland, who is setting up his own business as a personal trainer with help from the Hope Street XChange in Sunderland. Picture by David Wood.

A careers advisor has launched his own fitness business after ditching his desk job and following his own advice.

Bogged down with paperwork, tied to the office and feeling his life slipping away, Phil Holland decided it was time for a change.

Phil Holland, who took an Masters in psychology at the University of Sunderland, is setting out on his new venture. Picture by David Wood.

Phil Holland, who took an Masters in psychology at the University of Sunderland, is setting out on his new venture. Picture by David Wood.

At 37, the South Shields dad knew if he was going to take the leap of faith it was now or never, so left his job as a careers advisor with South Tyneside Council and worked to qualify as a personal trainer.

Now, with support from the Enterprise Place at the University of Sunderland, he is on track to a new life.

Phil, who took an masters in psychology at the university, said: “There are many different avenues in the personal training field I’m hoping to get involved with.

“I’m interested in helping people coming through via exercise referrals, whether that’s those with special needs, or older people, or those with mental health issues.

It takes courage to make a change like this in mid-career but it’s been worth it and I know there is quite a long way to go but I’m already enjoying this new challenge.

Phil Holland

“It’s a very broad spectrum and I want to explore that and use the skills I have learned through the psychology MSc, as well as my experience helping people, to move my new career forward.”

Phil, dad to Beatrice, five, says the Enterprise Place team has been critical in helping him get started.

He added: “It’s been brilliant, they told me how and where I could access financial support, they gave me a space to work from, so I wasn’t stuck in the house all the time, I’ve also been on a business enterprise weekend.”

Phil admits the past few months have been hard work as he establishes his venture, but wouldn’t change it.

Phil Holland training at Marsden. Picture by David Wood.

Phil Holland training at Marsden. Picture by David Wood.

He said: “It takes courage to make a change like this in mid-career but it’s been worth it and I know there is quite a long way to go but I’m already enjoying this new challenge.”

The Enterprise Place is funded through the European Regional Development Fund and available to students and alumni of the university, offering office space and facilities, start-up and growth courses, and advisers offering support and guidance all aimed turning a business idea into reality.