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Lady Andrée Deane-Barron returns to the helm of YMCA Awards

At the beginning of May, Andrée Deane-Barron took over the leadership of YMCA Awards. Andree is a fitness education sector expert with three published books and an extensive career history. Over the course of a highly successful career as an entrepreneurial business leader she has spanned the private, public and charity sectors. And as a previous school teacher and FE lecturer, holding both a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Education, Andrée authored the first sports coaching and exercise teaching NVQs. She also served as the CEO of the Fitness Industry Association (now UK Active) for 10 years. Many YMCA Awards centres already know Andrée well and for those that don’t currently, she looks forward to meeting you.

Following some restructuring at the end of last year, which also saw the arrival of Simon Titley from Pearson to head-up customer service, and Dr.Fiona Summers put in charge of quality and compliance, we now have a very experienced, highly professional team to support customers and continue our development of market-leading learning and assessment.

YMCA Awards, working with our strategic industry partners like CIMSPA, UK Active and the Federation of Awarding Bodies, will continue to lobby on behalf of our stakeholders.

Our priorities remain:

  • Ensuring high-quality, reliable assessments which are designed by technical experts.
  • Ensuring that the technical expertise of fitness industry professionals is recognised and that the sector is not undermined by the activities of low-quality training providers.
  • Ensuring that the government’s plans to reform our system of qualifications and apprenticeships take account of the needs of our stakeholders, and that timescales for change are realistic.


The future of digital learning

We will also continue our emphasis on technology-enhanced learning. Digitisation is not something to avoid, as the digital experience is no longer separate from our everyday life and can bring many advantages and efficiencies. However, we know that whilst technology has the ability to make learning accessible to many more people, it can also create unintended consequences of poor delivery and assessment if developments in digital technology are not carefully managed. Our aim is to bring together the advantages offered by remote and virtual teaching environments with the principles of quality teaching that are the foundations of our expertise in education.

That’s why YMCA Awards is embracing learning technology, so that we can create high-quality content and products with our selected partners, which reflect the standards we have set for the industry over nearly 20 years.