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YMCA Awards is one of the leading qualification providers in the fitness sector, having had years of delivering quality educational products that are used across the globe. Our success is based not only on the partnerships and relationships we form, but most of all, on our ability to listen and bring about real change.

As many people using, working in and interested in fitness know, the sector is going through a period of substantial change. What some might miss though is how and why.

For too long, the standard expected of our fitness professionals had remained static and record numbers of personal trainers were leaving the industry within the first two years of entry. YMCA Awards has however found a solution.

By raising the bar and improving the standard of training provided to people wanting to become a fitness professional; creating distinct career progression routes and signposting to additional training; and encouraging a culture of learning and innovation, we have turned the sector on its head.

The result is an ever-growing, happier workforce that can drive the delivery of the UK’s sporting, physical activity and participation targets, whilst simultaneously improving retention and making a career in fitness genuinely attractive.

How we craft our qualifications

Improving the standard of training through creating world-class qualifications has however demanded a lot of innovative thinking, and has required a great amount of coordination with the Charted Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and our industry partners.

Once agreed, we take the standards demanded by CIMSPA and incorporate them into the redevelopment of the qualifications themselves. We also carefully select the appropriate assessment methods, assess the manageability implications for centres and learners, and provide a range of support products that help learners and centres achieve their goals.

In addition and in order to ensure that our products and services meet the diverse education, talent, employment and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs of the sector, we also engage with leading industry representatives, often through focus groups.

By ensuring that industry experts oversee, review and sign off key decisions throughout the process, and ensuring that they help shape the development process, we can ensure that the final result is truly fit for purpose.

A great example of this work in action can be seen in how our new Diploma in Personal Training is assessed.

Traditionally (and to date) all learners have been required to be assessed using the Sector Skills Council’s assessment plan for personal trainers, however, since this solely required the completion of a series of individual tasks, it bore little resemblance to what learners were actually doing in practice once qualified.

Feedback showed us that this was resulting in learners who lack the confidence to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and that they were often left feeling unprepared to be the “personal” trainers the industry requires.

In light of what we’d heard, we, therefore, decided to assess through the completion of an activity which mirrors the requirements and expectations of a personal trainer actually working in the industry. This way, the learner is free to not only demonstrate their competence but to bring their personality and individuality into the task, allowing them to “showcase” their true abilities and gain the confidence required.

We need your help

The work to improve standards in the sector has not stopped here however. YMCA Awards will be looking to launch our new qualifications early in the New Year, with the aim of ensuring that a person achieving one of our qualifications has the necessary skills, knowledge, competence and behaviours, to not just succeed but excel in the fitness sector.

So that we ensure that our latest qualifications are of the highest quality and that our products are the most innovative on the market, we are talking to a range of employers in the sector and we are also seeking the views of self-employed fitness professionals.

If you are working in the fitness sector, your voice is crucial to ensuring our educational products work for everyone. To have your say please fill out our short survey:

2018 is going to be a significant year for many reasons, but most of all let’s make it the year that we decide to embrace change and make significant inroads into tackling physical inactivity and participation in our communities.

If you would like any further information visit the YMCA Awards website (, or alternatively contact us directly at: