Organised by World Skills UK, the show was home to the finals of national competitions in a range of diverse fields, which also included culinary art, restaurant service, plumbing and even ‘refrigeration’!
I was really pleased to be invited back to judge the final of the Fitness Trainer Competition again this year, run by AoC Sport, and spent 3 days observing 8 finalists being put through their paces with a variety of challenging tasks.
All recently qualified personal trainers, they had to:
• deliver a training session to one of their current clients
• conduct 3 back to back consultations with people they’d never met before
• plan progressive programmes for those potential clients
• show their technical ability by demonstrating a number of exercises with regressions and progressions
• deliver a small group indoor rowing class
• present their business acumen in a professional discussion
The criteria competitors were judged against have been developed from industry feedback and research such as Future Fit’s Raising the Bar report, to ensure the skills required closely match those needed in the ‘real world’ to be a successful PT.
That’s why the consultations were done with strangers as opposed to friends and family, and why we were looking for soft skills in communication, rapport building, motivation and commercial awareness as well as the ability to train and coach effectively.
As opposed to a formal qualification assessment, we weren’t looking for a minimum standard – this competition is about demonstrating excellence and the judges wanted to see stand out skills from the finalists who had already been through multiple stages to get this far.
The environment itself added an element of high pressure as The Skills Show is a huge event with 80,000 visitors expected over the 3 days. At times the pop up gym space was surrounded by big crowds watching the competitors in action, and for the indoor rowing class they were miked up so everyone could hear what they were saying as they coached the group.
As if that wasn’t enough, the class participants were actually senior staff from British Rowing and a member of Birmingham University rowing team’s high performance squad – an intimidating situation for even experienced trainers!
Along the way the competitors were able to network and meet VIPs such as MPs, TV presenters and ex-athletes, so it was a massive opportunity to boost their careers. One got to teach former Premier League footballer Tony Daley some gymnastic moves (keep an eye out for the videos and pictures on social media).
After an intense two days, the winner was announced as Sarah Woodhouse, who now runs her personal training business ‘This Mummy Can’.
Congratulations to Sarah and if you’re interested in entering the competition yourself next year – take a look at the AoC Sport website for details of the 2018 event which will be announced soon.