Tom has only been working at Future Fit for just over a year, but jumped at the opportunity to judge the Raising Your Bar category for current students and graduates. He says: “I was really interested to see the difference our courses have made to people’s lives; to be able to see the fantastic things our learners plan to do or have already started. Seeing their achievements also gives you a good idea of how well we operate as a business.
“All the finalists had a level of desire and passion well beyond what I expected for their point in their journey. Particularly our gold winner, Joseph Bleetman; he was phenomenal. A man of his young age not only had a plan, but knew how he was going to get there. That’s unusual.”
“Also Jaina Mistry. She is an incredible person that wants to make a difference to anyone going through adversity, and help them make a change in their lives through physical activity and improved lifestyle. She’s doing some mega things that push her own personal boundaries. She was just fabulous.”
Having worked in fitness for 20 years, Tom is experienced in industry awards.
“Most training providers run some type of awards, but rather than winning by gaining the most votes, at the Legacy Awards the finalists presented their plans and the work they are doing to us in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ -style event – that made it so special. It was an incredible experience. They could all present to a very high standard and were very engaging, captivating us for 10 minutes at a time just wasn’t enough, we could have listened to them for hours. I knew our learners were good, but these guys were amazing!!
“Joseph talked a lot about not wanting to use medication to control various issues in his life. He popped a vitamin pill in front of us to bring into focus just how easy it is take a tablet when exercise can have the same effect.”
“But they were all very credible with what they said. Jaina spoke to my heart. Hers was less of a presentation and more ‘I’m going to tell you where I’m at, what I’ve been through and what I want to do’. It could have been a very downbeat story, but it wasn’t. It was all very positive. Rachel Lines is doing some amazing stuff in the community. She was a great speaker and has some fabulous ideas around supporting mothers.”
Tom was enthused by the involvement of so many well-known industry names, as well as the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH), which provided its historic venue in Portland Place, London, for the event itself, with its Deputy DEO, Duncan Stephenson, comparing the evening.
“I was blown away that the RSPH was so happy to be part of it, and that the awards attracted so many established industry names. It was great to have them alongside all the learners in one space.”
He believes these new faces will make the sector a better place by encouraging radical thinking and change.
“One of problems with our industry is that a lot of
people have been in it for a very long time, so there can be elements of ‘we’ve
always done it like this’. They want to change, but radical change will only
come from people like Joseph, who have a willingness to take risks, to look at
problems completely differently, and block out any thoughts around what’s been
tried already. I see all of them doing
fantastic things in the future as they have the drive and the passion. If their
ideas come off they will take us into orbit!”
“It’s not that I was demotivated in any way, but they gave me a boost and the inspiration to go out there and do what we do better. I honestly don’t think they realise the impact they had on the judges. Tara was on the edge of her seat. As CEO of CIMSPA she speaks to literally everyone in the industry. So for her to be moved to the edge of her seat with what she heard is a massive boost to the sector.”
“I hope the Legacy Awards gather even more momentum, as we need to keep letting people see the wonderful work our tutors and our tutor support team are doing. They are killing it with these students; it’s just great!”
Each of the Raise Your Bar finalists was given CIMSPA membership as part of their prize, which Tom believes is a vital part of the whole process.
“CIMSPA is a very important organisation, working day in, day out to improve our sector and ensure standards, and at Future Fit Training, that’s what we are all about. Our qualifications aim to bring quality people into the sector. So for us to bring these ‘top of the crop’ student finalists into the CIMSPA family is vital.”