The European Accreditation – Fitness Project, which has enabled health and fitness sector training providers and national associations across Europe to be accredited against the European Health and Fitness Association (EHFA) Standards for occupations that include fitness instructing, group fitness instructing and personal training, has been hailed a success. There are now 26 accredited organisations across Europe, with many more training providers looking into achieving accreditation.
The EHFA Standards are aligned to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to clearly identify the knowledge, skills and competencies required for fitness instructing occupations. The Standards are the European benchmark for vocational education and training within the health and fitness sector across Europe and successfully accredited training providers have demonstrated that they met those standards through a transparent and independent process of external verification.
The 2-year project has been a Lifelong Learning European-funded initiative. Its success and insight into how its accreditation process has been an effective way of developing European standards for fitness occupations, were highlighted at the project’s finale, held at the Pan-European Accreditation in the Sport and Active Leisure Sector Conference in Brussels on 10 September 2010.
Training providers successfully achieving accreditation come from the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, France, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Ireland and the Czech Republic. A full list of accredited training providers can be found at www.eafitness.eu.
The project was led by CYQ (Central YMCA Qualifications), the UK specialist health and fitness sector Awarding Body, and by EHFA, the European Health and Fitness Association. Jenny Patrickson, Director of Awarding at CYQ, said:
"The significance of the project is that it has established a more joined up approach to training and qualifications across Europe. For individual trainers this means that their qualifications can now be recognised, allowing for improved mobility and for registration with the European Register of Exercise Professionals."
"The project has included support for the ongoing development of the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPs) which now has an ever increasing membership base with members from across Europe in 28 different countries. CYQ and all of the project partners are delighted with the results of this innovative and exciting project," continues Patrickson.
"The expertise of our European partners has been invaluable during the course of the project and the standard demonstrated by the successfully accredited training organisations has been very high. Accreditation documents have been translated into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch and therefore the accreditation process is now easier to achieve."
"We have also trained an experienced team of European External Verifiers, whose language base covers French, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German and our Verifiers are based across Europe which will make the accreditation process more accessible. Many of the accredited training providers have found that gaining accreditation has improved their business as a result of the endorsement and we look forward to supporting other European providers to achieve accreditation in the future."
Herman Rutgers, Executive Director of EHFA, said:
"The conference provided an excellent opportunity to explain the benefits of accreditation and the work of EHFA and EREPS which is helping the European fitness industry to professionalise and develop along EU guidelines and principles.
The EA Fitness project gave energy and resources to help the EHFA accreditation process and for EREPS which has been a most welcome addition and we are now at an important cross-road of the next stage of EHFA supporting and promoting improving quality assurance in VET. EHFA would like to thank CYQ and the other partners for a very significant journey that has only just begun, thanks to this European project."
The project was funded with support from the European Commission.