I am going to start this article with some history. In 1999 Michael King, Malcolm Muirhead and Nuala Coombs created a company called ‘The Pilates Institute’. They were, at one point; the largest Pilates Training Centre in the City of London. They had over 1500 teachers go through their programmes. Then in 2002, they were the first Pilates organisation to work with a national accrediting organisation, called the OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations) in order to make Pilates a nationally recognised qualification. It was set up to show competence in teaching skills, professionalism andresponsibility in the health and fitness Industry.
They recognised the need for standardisation within the industry and actively sought out regulation.
This was an important step in many ways, not just because of the need for standardisation but because in many European countries, you need insurance to be able to teach, and you cannot get that unless you have a nationally accredited qualification.
Also in 2002
, the fitness industry saw the launch of The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).
This is an independent, public register, which recognises the qualifications and expertise of health-enhancing exercise instructors in the UK. REPs provide a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the health and fitness industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards
It was developed to protect the public from ‘cowboy trainers’ who do not hold appropriate qualifications. Fitness courses that meet National Standards are allowed to be ‘on the Register’ and teachers/instructors are required to choose their training from the list of recognised providers in order to meet their continuing professional development (CPD) commitments, and stay a member of the register. Membership of REPs demonstrates to the public that both the instructor/teacher and/or training provider have met the standards as set by the industry.
For Pilates; in 2008
, the qualification was upgraded from the lower ‘Level 2 Qualification’ to the higher ‘Level 3 Qualification’ (Advanced Instructor). All the major Pilates organisations came together at the time and agreed on necessary criteria, as measured by both written and practical assessment. This process was acknowledged and backed by REP’s, with the register supporting and promoting these training courses.
This government backed accreditation process ensured that no one training provider could overly influence the content of the courses, and with an unbiased assessment process; the only thing that mattered was that people were being trained to teach safe and effective Pilates, AND every other fitness or movement practise. From Boxercise to Yoga, the world of health and fitness had a governing body, setting and maintaining high standards within a previously unregulated industry.
At the same time as the standardisation of the Pilates industry, Fitt started running fully accreditedcourses for, Skills Active, REPs, ActiveIQ & CYQ:
Exercise to Music, Gym Instructor, Personal Training Diploma, Nutrition, Spinning, Pilates (plus CPD) Yoga (plus CPD) and so on….
This company is run by a team of dedicated fitness professionals with many years experience, of working within the fitness industry.
All the tutors that work for Fitt are experienced and qualified tutors and experts within their own discipline.
Fitt pride themselves on offering quality education that can be used by students to gain work within the fitness industry or start their own businesses. Fitt concentrate on quality and safety, helping our students to become the best they can possibly be, before they go out into the world of fitness and provideexceptional services to the public.
Fitt believe in good quality face-to-face tutoring to help students become the best they can be, in terms of being a fitness professional. The potential return on investment from good quality education and certification has been proven from the many testimonials from our past students, where they have up-skilled or entered the new exciting career pathway of fitness.
Since the dedication of Michael King’s team and many other professionals within different disciplines worked tirelessly to standardise the industry and ensure that training was of an exceptional quality and nationally accredited, there has recently been a resurgence of companies offering training in courses that are not nationally recognised.
This is of great concern to the Fitt Team.
Primarily, insurance companies these days do not do a background check on the certification that an instructor may present to them on application for insurance. The mere presence of a certificate is enough in many cases, for the insurance company to offer cover. However, should there be an incident whereby the instructor finds themselves on the end of litigation; they may find that because the course they took was not accredited by a nationally awarding body, they are in fact NOT COVERED.
There are two main elements that a ‘wannabe’ or ‘up-skilling’ instructor or teacher should consider before undertaking a course.
- Has your course been accredited by a UK government based accredited agency? Without this element you are unlikely to be covered by any insurance for which you are paying. You are also unlikely to get certain jobs, where employers actually DO check your certification. You will also lose your credibility very quickly with members of the public that understand the accreditation system in the UK.
- It’s not just about the certificate; it’s about the quality of the training and education that you undertake. You are not just gaining a certificate you are gaining a whole wealth of new knowledge that you can use to improve your professionalism, provide you with more customers, ensure YOU get the next job and help all those clients that are coming to you for advice, training and support. It’s critical that you come away with the best possible foundation of knowledge within your chosen area of study and the Fitt tutors are experts in providing you with real world knowledge and information that you can start using immediately.
There needs to be a determination from all of us, to ensure that the high standards that the professionals before us worked so hard to establish, are not tarnished by this recent rise in online fitness courses, distance learning massage courses with no practical element and DVD’s replacing face-to-face tutoring. The classroom environment is more than just learning from your tutor, it’s about the sharing of information between students, networking and yes; being able to ask your tutor any question that comes into your head at that moment.
I would like to reiterate, that to be a tutor; you have to be not just an expert in your field, but you need to be a qualified teacher and in many cases, a qualified assessor too. To be a training provider; you need a solid team of dedicated professionals working together both for the benefit of the student and the development of the company. We need to insure ourselves, our students and our venues. All our courses are fully accredited and approved by REPs. We need to be ready to show our commitment to the students and our professionalism in managing the business to the National Accrediting Organisation in order to maintain our status as a training provider. We respect and maintain the highest of standards.