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Future Fit Traning

Ready For Change: Raising The Bar 2018

The health and fitness industry is ready for change, willing to support the Government’s drive towards a healthier nation and determined to raise the standard of skills across the workforce. These are the key findings in Future Fit Training’s Raising the Bar Report for 2018.

For the first time, we have launched our Raising the Bar Report at an industry dinner. We were joined by forty leading operators and industry experts, along with our partners in this venture at ukactive and CIMSPA. Together, we had our first sight of the report, discussed its key outcomes and debated the next steps to future-proof our industry.

Since 2014, Future Fit Training and our partners at ukactive, with support from CIMSPA, have conducted an annual review with operators and experts across the health and fitness industry. In each successive report, we have detailed information about the successes and key areas for improvement among the fitness industry.

The findings of our fourth report show that, while many of the skills gaps and areas of concern raised in previous reports still exist, there have been significant positive improvements made and we are developing a clearer idea of the way ahead for both existing fitness professionals and our future workforce.

Raising the Bar Report 2018 reveals that operators are more united than ever behind the initiatives proposed by ukactive and CIMSPA

Our key findings show that all of the operators and employers who took part in the survey believe the CIMSPA professional standards for fitness will have a positive impact on raising the quality of Personal Trainers entering the industry. Additionally, of the operators and employers who responded:

  • 73% believed that personal training qualifications should take at least six months to complete
  • 92% provide additional training to ensure that fitness staff are work ready, showing key deficiencies in training
  • 87% said that candidates are entering the health and fitness industry with unrealistic expectations which poses a recurring issue when looking to recruit high-quality staff

Skills gaps among fitness professionals

The Raising the Bar Report 2018 has indicated key skills gaps among fitness professionals and those in training at the moment. These skills gaps have been consistently presented across all four iterations of the report to date and indicate the biggest challenge facing health and fitness professionals.

Among the gaps identified are a lack of commercial acumen, social skills and behaviour change skills. Most of the operators and employers who responded believed that these gaps could be solved through a more robust, comprehensive and employer-focused approach to the initial training and development of new fitness professionals.


Engaging disabled people

Almost 20% of the UK’s population are living with a disability, whether visible or hidden, and they are among the least active people in society (almost twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people).

The Raising the Bar Report 2018 has highlighted that the health and fitness industry are not currently able to effectively engage and train people living with disabilities, with 86% of the operators and employers surveyed stating that they do not believe that most fitness professionals are adequately trained to work with disabled people.

The ability to tailor activity programmes to engage with and train disabled people has been identified as a core skill that should be included as standard for all Level 3 Personal Trainers.


The future generation

Children in the UK today are among the least active generation in history, with half of all seven-year olds not achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. As the growing obesity crisis among UK children comes into more urgent focus, the government has reaffirmed their commitment to tackling childhood inactivity.

Despite this, 86% of operators and employers said that they did not think that most fitness professionals are adequately equipped to work with children.

Over half of the operators and employers surveyed have identified that engaging children is a priority for their organisation over the next five years and 56% believe that the Level 3 Personal Trainer diploma should include this as standard.


Developing a pathway for the industry to the future

CIMSPA’s publication of their Professional Standard for Personal Trainers has set a benchmark of what is expected of the physical activity workforce. Over the last year, they have secured strategic and financial support from Sport England and are now fully established as the authority on the development of the fitness industry’s workforce.

Our challenge now remains to chart an industry-wide strategy to address the skills gaps and training needs of our fitness professionals and develop a workforce for the future.