How I made a mid-life career change to Kinesiology

Career change is no longer an unusual life decision. We speak with two students who made the leap.


Half of all Australians are considering a career change right now, according to research by SEEK. If you’re one of the 50 per cent, you’re in very good company.

Today we’re speaking with two O’Neill Kinesiology College mature age students. We’ll meet Paul Allen, who made the shift in his late 40s from a 20-year technical FIFO career, and we’ll also chat with Jo Smythe, a mining operations and logistics planner based in Perth.

Interestingly, neither disliked their previous jobs. Both Paul and Jo said it was a desire to be involved in something more meaningful that eventually drove them to seek another career path.


Starting out as an electronics engineer in the UK, Paul relocated to Australia and took a job in the oil and gas industry working on underwater remote control vehicles – a career that is polar opposite to the one he’s now embarked on.

“We’d do video surveys, looking at pipelines, and working with divers. But as the oil and gas industry started to falter, I started to think about a career further afield. I wanted something more ‘spiritual’,” he said.

Complementary therapies weren’t something completely out of the blue. Several members of his family had dabbled in natural therapies, including reiki and reflexology, but fate struck when he was leafing through a magazine and two adverts caught his eye. One was for hypnotherapy and the other an introductory two-day workshop at O’Neill Kinesiology College. He immediately decided to enrol in the latter. This was in December 2015 and by February 2016, Paul was a student sitting in his first classroom in years.

How did it feel? He says simply, “it just felt right”. But the transition wasn’t overnight because he was, and is, still employed in oil and gas. This meant there were allowances to make to juggle the two, with the added pressure of being away for long stints. Sometimes these work swings are up to ten weeks at a time in Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of Australia.

“I really enjoy it but it has not been without its challenges,” Paul said. “I once missed a whole semester because I was away with work. I study in between and sometimes I feel a bit rusty (coming back to the classroom) but it comes back quickly. Luckily the College was really great about it.”



Firsthand experience with complementary therapies came when her chiropractor used Kinesiology techniques on her during an appointment.

“I became very curious how he was finding out the emotional stress that was going on for me. I asked more and more questions about the Kinesiology techniques he was using and he actually recommended that I look into courses at O’Neill Kinesiology College,” she said.

Having previously studied Sports Science at university many moons ago, Kinesiology fit in well with her interests in health and wellbeing. She decided to attend a free Open Day to see if it definitely was for her.

“Once I found Kinesiology and realised how much the modality has helped me heal physically as well as spiritually and emotionally, I was hooked. I just knew I had to learn it to be able to share with others,” Jo said.

Like Paul, she still works full-time and studies full-time. But with a strong support network around her both at home and at work, she’s able to master the workload. “The main barrier for me, really, was the increase in schedule and workload, and finding the balance between work and study. It did take a while to get everything sorted and a bit of trial and error, but with the support of the College and their understanding of my work timetable, we almost have it down to a fine art now.”

Why Kinesiology?

There are plenty of complementary therapy career paths out there, so what was it that made Kinesiology stand out?

“Kinesiology is such a powerful modality as it deals with issues on a holistic level. Instead of just focusing on an ailment or issue from one standpoint, Kinesiology allows us to look at the bigger picture, taking a holistic approach to client health and wellness,” Jo said.

“For example, working with physical pain as an indicator of what is going on for someone. Being able to ease the physical pain, as well as reduce or alleviate the mental or emotional stress or blockage that may have been causing the pain in the first instance, is mind-blowing.”

It’s affected her on a personal level too. “My own growth through this journey has also been a wonderful surprise.  I feel like I am not only learning but also becoming the person I always wanted to be.”

For Paul, he discovered new layers to the discipline and became keenly interested in the scientifically-complex side of Kinesiology, like neurology. He also said learning more deeply about emotion has dramatically changed the way he deals with his own problems and those close to him.

Why else would you consider Kinesiology? The complementary therapies industry is booming, with Australian consumers spending a whopping $4 billion on products and services in 2016 alone.

The advice to others contemplating a career change?

“Just go to the Open Day and see how it feels. You’ve got nothing to lose but it’s a chance to change your life,” Paul said.

If you want to know more about studying Kinesiology, contact us today on (08) 9330 7443. We have had plenty of career changers graduate with flying colours even with the unique challenges they faced.

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