• Launching new massage qualifications

    YMCA Awards has become the first awarding organisation to embrace the lastest national occupational standards (NOS) for Sports Massage Therapy.

    We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our brand-new massage qualifications:

    Fully endorsed by General Council for Massage Therapy (GCMT) and developed in association with The Association for Soft Tissue Therapists (SMA), these qualifications align with the latest National Occupational Standards (NOS).

    Yvonne Blake Chair of SMA , vice-chair of GCMT said: “The SMA is delighted to see the lead that YMCA has taken in writing new qualifications that align education and the practical skills required in our industry with the National Occupational Standards.

    We have been involved at all stages of the development of these qualifications and believe a therapist achieving both level 3 & 4 will have the necessary skills to work in the sports massage industry with athletes of all standards. The SMA recognises the value of the Level 3 Diploma in Performance Massage as the entry level to the industry as it provides valuable knowledge and skills to help with the preparation for and recovery from strenuous activity and performance-related events.

    Yvonne continued, “It became apparent during the pandemic that a level 3 qualification alone, does not allow for a practitioner to be classified as a healthcare professional and we therefore support the distinction between the two levels. For a therapist wanting to work as a fully-qualified Sports Massage Therapist, the Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy (Soft Tissue Dysfunction) is essential.”

    The Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy will be replaced by YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Performance Massage which “provides a valuable steppingstone towards becoming qualified as a sports massage therapist and will allow the graduate to perform massage at a fundamental level on nonpathological tissue, perhaps as an adjunct to a personal training or gym session.”

    The Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy will be replaced by YMCA Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy (Soft Tissue Dysfunction) which “meets all the knowledge and understanding and practical learning outcomes for the Sports Massage National Occupational Standards CNH27 when taken in conjunction with the YMCA Level 3 Certificate in Performance Massage which will enable a graduate to work in the industry as a sports massage therapist on pathological tissue.”

    Aligned with the health practitioner membership requirements of Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), options upon achievement include:

    Setting-up own sports massage therapy clinic, treating clients with minor injuries / sources of soft-tissue dysfunction.
    Working as a sports massage therapist for fitness authorities, healthcare organisations, sports clubs and in the entertainment industry, on either an employed or self-employed basis
    Applying the newly acquired knowledge and skills to further develop an existing personal training business
    Using as a foundation toward a sports therapy qualification.

    Simon Titley, Head of YMCA Awards said: “The release of new NOS (CNH27 Provide sports massage therapy to clients) has allowed YMCA Awards to address the confusion that has existed within the sector for some time. Often, learners with a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy qualification find themselves ineligible for desirable sports massage therapy jobs as they are not qualified to treat any form of injury.

    “In consultation and collaboration with GCMT and SMA we have restructured and renamed our next generation qualifications, to clarify scope of practice and support learners to full membership of sports massage therapy professional associations.”

    These qualifications replace the existing Level 3 Diploma and Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy which will close for registrations in the 2023/24 academic year. Funding for the existing YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy (601/5011/7) will run until 20 April 2023.