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On Friday 28th February 2020, 21 – year-old Lee Wainwright from Chester was the first ever apprentice in the country to pass the all-new ‘YMCA Awards Level 3 Personal Trainer End-Point Assessment’ (EPA) at Cheshire College South and West.

The new Level 3 PT EPA replaces the former PT NVQ, which was deemed “not fit for purpose” during the Government Apprenticeship Review of 2017. 

EPA resources have been designed to meet the rigorous standards of an evolving fitness industry and YMCA Awards’ EPA was one of the first to be endorsed by CIMSPA – The Chartered Institute of the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.

Steve Conopo, Head of End-Point Assessment at YMCA Awards, explains how YMCA Awards are leading the way in developing and delivering more robust industry qualifications:

“Our apprenticeships are a quality experience and when our apprentices are assessed by YMCA Awards, they will be able to withstand the future demands of the job they will progress into. 

Our training providers and employers can rest assured that they will be supported by our industry experts throughout the whole apprenticeship. Our bespoke EPA online platform is designed to make apprentice registrations, scheduling and EPA tracking, fully transparent and easy to use.

Our YMCA Awards Y-Kit contains all EPA requirements and templates so that the apprentice is fully prepared to achieve excellence during their end-point assessment.

Any assessments carried out by our team of independent End - Point Assessors will undergo rigorous checks to ensure absolute independence.  

Our YMCA Awards’ EPA service is simple to use and quality assured. Our unique EPA features offer an unrivalled service, which ensures a seamless transition from training to assessment and certification.”

To date, over 150 Personal Trainer apprentices across England are currently registered to under-take this new end-point assessment. A sharp increase of registrations is expected over the summer when training providers will switch to the new framework and the former NVQ PT will no longer be available.

Cheshire College South and West is the first ever training provider to deliver the YMCA Awards Level 3 PT EPA. Simon O’Brien is their Sport and Fitness Lecturer and Coordinator and is delighted with Lee’s good news:

“It’s fantastic for Lee and fantastic for us. 

I’ve worked with YMCA Awards for 12 years and our relationship has always been positive. The quality of their resources and support has been second to none. Steve has been in regular contact to make sure we had everything we needed so Lee was fully prepared. He was very quick to act on any concerns we had and thoroughly explained the EPA process and requirements. It has been easy from start to finish. YMCA Awards do this better than anyone else I’ve worked with.

Lee is now confident in a range of occupational standards - one to one sessions and advice, group sessions, assessing a client’s lifestyle and nutrition analysis. The EPA standards are higher and more rigorous than the old PT NVQ. Now it’s a detailed assessment day, before it was just paperwork and a couple of assessments. YMCA Awards personally check to see if the apprentice is competent, whereas before it was just up to the employer and their assessor. The EPA has allowed Lee to showcase his skills across his 18 month YMCA Awards journey from Level 2 upwards.

EPAs are in line with what the fitness industry actually need. YMCA Awards ensure that our qualifications are up to date and our apprentices are ready for what the industry requires – that’s very important. In future, apprentices will be more vocationally ready and employers will be confident that they’ve gone through a detailed process. When employers hire fitness apprentices in future, they can rest assured that they are actually ready for the workplace.”

Lee Wainwright, who has been studying sport and fitness for four years at Cheshire College South and West, is very pleased with his result:

“Today I qualify as a Level 3 Personal Trainer. I feel amazing. It couldn’t have gone any better. The consultation was good, the presentation was amazing and the interview was good. YMCA Awards has given me so much opportunity and all the support I needed throughout this assessment and before. They are ‘number one’.

They put me through my paces, but I was prepared for everything so it wasn’t an issue. It was intense, but I got through it. I’ve been given all the tools I need to do the job. My colleagues have helped me if I’ve been stuck and have broken things down to help me understand. My EPA assessors were exactly the same.

I’ve enjoy training people from different backgrounds and getting to know them. Seeing people getting active and healthy is a great achievement because it puts a smile on my face and on their face. They love it!
I’ve been at this college since I was 18 and it’s all built up to this one day. I’m 21 now and I’m going to use this qualification to apply for jobs in gyms, in training - and at some point - run my own business. That’s where I hope it will take me. I’m 100% ready for the real world. This apprenticeship has given me so much confidence because of the experience I’ve gained and the people I’ve met.”

YMCA Awards are currently developing their second EPA - the ‘Early Years Educator Standard’, which will be available by the end of March, closely followed by their ‘Horticulture and Landscape Operative Standard’, ‘Adult Care Worker Standard’, ‘Lead Adult Care Worker Standard’, ‘Team Leader Supervisor Standard’, ‘Customer Service Practitioner Standard’ and ‘Business Administrator Standard’.

For more information contact YMCA Awards Business Development Team:

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