CPD Highlight - Nuffield Health

CIMSPA partner Nuffield Health is one of the leading not-for-profit UK healthcare organisations, looking after people for more than 60 years. With over 350 facilities around the country, including fitness and wellbeing gyms, corporate fitness and wellbeing centres and hospitals, CIMSPA were pleased to welcome the organisation as an employer partner and skills development partner in 2016.


Having recently been visited by our External Quality Assurance team, we felt it was a perfect time to catch up with Nuffield Health and Learning and Education Lead, Chris Foster to discuss the process, how they found it and how working with CIMSPA has been for them over the last two years. 

Nuffield Health were the first of our employer partners to require their Fitness and Wellbeing staff to be CIMSPA Members, why did you decide to do this?

“We took this strategic decision as we felt that CIMSPA, backed by DCMS and Sport England, offered the best way forward for the sector in terms of professional standards and registration. Previous registers have offered much, and under delivered on their promises and with quality being extremely high on our agenda throughout the organisation we believe that our Fitness & Wellbeing employees are best served by being members of their Chartered Institute. We feel that the CIMSPA membership status of our frontline fitness employees provides a stamp of quality, which offers our consumer members and corporate clients an assurance that they are being supported by the most appropriately qualified people.”

We recently visited one of your facilities to carry out external quality assurance on your Fitness As It Should Be course. How did you find the process and were there many changes made as a result of our report?

"Our EQA was a really good experience, and it’s safe to say that through thorough preparation and great delivery we were given a very positive report. The take home actions were therefore quite limited, however what we continue to do is review our content regularly to ensure that it is up to date and look to gain CIMSPA accreditation for any new educational products that we develop so that we can continue to support our employees.

The most significant change that we have implemented since the EQA visit is to redevelop our Fitness As It Should Be and Building Relationships: PT Sales courses, which are now delivered in a blended format. Our new employees can access the online aspects of the new Fitness Induction: Setting Up for Success programme as soon as they join the organisation prior to attending a face to face workshop where the theory is brought to life in a practical environment. This new programme has been recognised by CIMPSA and offers our PTs 10 Endorsed CPD points.

One aspect that I think works really well is that CIMSPA went out and asked a number of our employees for their feedback on the Nuffield Health Academy courses that they’d attended. For me, this allows our people to feel confident that our training is being externally reviewed, which offers an extra level of quality to their learning experience.”

Speaking of your in-house academy, you now have 13 training courses endorsed by CIMSPA, how does the academy work for your employees and how important is it to your organisation?

“The Nuffield Health Academy has successfully operated for a number of years, delivering learning and development opportunities to every single employee within the organisation. We view professional development as a crucial part of any employees’ career with us, and as such we are proud to be able to support our fitness employees as a CIMSPA skills development partner.

We currently have a blend of face to face and online educational workshops and modules recognised by CIMSPA and are constantly looking to grow our internal offering. This ranges from our Fitness Induction: Setting Up for Success and Health MOT programmes, through to training in areas such as Recovery+ (our post-surgical exercise recovery programme) and Exercise Programming for People with Cystic Fibrosis (where our Personal Trainers work to support children and young people with cystic fibrosis to be more physically active).

As well as our internal offering, we have also partnered with 13 third party training providers to enable access to their CIMSPA endorsed training, which may be funded by the Nuffield Health Academy or via discounted employee self-pay rates which we see as a way of rewarding our people.”

I’m glad you mentioned your cystic fibrosis course. It seems very relevant with CIMSPA’s publication of our Working with People with Long Term Conditions professional standard. I understand that you may be sharing the course with all of our members in the future.

“As a charitable organisation, we are always looking at how to engage with those who would ordinarily have fewer opportunities to be active or look after their wellbeing. One of our most successful programmes is our Cystic Fibrosis Exercise Programme, which through a working partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, has enabled our Personal Trainers to work with in excess of 250 children and young people. We are now discussing with CIMSPA how we can expand access to this programme by sharing the educational package with non-Nuffield Health sport and physical activity professionals, which in turn would mean a greater number of cystic fibrosis patients could benefit from this life-changing programme.”

We are into our third year of working together now. Are there any changes you would like to see CIMSPA make? Any ways you feel we can better represent the sector?

“The key developments or advancements I’d like to see from CIMSPA include increasing the awareness of what CIMSPA membership means for their existing members (e.g. our Personal Trainers), prospective members (e.g. self-employed fitness professionals) and the general public. The continued discussions between CIMSPA and the medical profession are also an area I’d like to see progress because, as outlined above, the sector has such a huge opportunity to positively impact the health of the nation. We need clearly defined pathways that make it easy for those working in medicine and primary care to know who they can refer their patients to, safe in the knowledge that they can be trusted to offer them the best care possible.”

Thank you for your feedback Chris. CIMSPA are constantly trying to improve awareness of our organisation and it is something we will really be concentrating on over the next year with our new branding launched at conference and our strategic marketing plan for 2019. 

Our theme for our conference last week was “Five years forward” – how do you see the sector progressing?

“Looking to the future, I think it’s essential that the sector looks at how it can be viewed in a more professional light. It’s an exciting time for everybody involved, and we need to be able to harness the enthusiasm for fitness and wellbeing that is building amongst the younger generation on social media. At the same time though, this brings with it challenges in terms of the visibility of who and who isn’t appropriately qualified to deliver fitness services. The sector has such a huge role to play in the fight against diseases such as obesity and diabetes, but we still have a major barrier between us and the medical profession. Building trust between these two areas is absolutely essential, and my hope is that CIMSPA will play a key role in enabling this to happen.

At Nuffield Health we are constantly looking to develop how our clinical and fitness employees work together in an integrated, multidisciplinary way and the vision would be to see this replicated throughout the nation in line with the NHS’ focus on prevention as well as treatment and cure. Something that we do need to tackle is making CIMSPA membership appeal to and seem valuable to sport and physical activity professionals. We are left with a legacy of broken promises, and as such Personal Trainers struggle to see the value of a professional register. The larger operators such as Nuffield Health are working on this with our fitness employees, but there is a huge untapped market of self-employed trainers across the UK who require education on the purpose and benefits of CIMSPA membership.”

CIMSPA would like to take this opportunity to thank Nuffield Health for their continued support and work to develop our library of professional standards and a special thanks to Chris Foster BSc MCIMSPA - Learning and Education Lead – Fitness and Physiology Academy, for taking the time to talk to us. 

Leisure Team Member apprenticeship now available for funded delivery

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The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) are celebrating the great work of our sector’s apprentices this week as part of National Apprenticeship Week, and we’re delighted to announce that the Leisure Team Member apprenticeship is now available for funded delivery.

This apprenticeship adds to the portfolio of apprenticeship standards already available for sport and physical activity sector employers to draw down funding for.

The Leisure Team Member apprenticeship provides a solid grounding for a career in our sector. Once completed, the apprentice will have experience in working across the whole range of the business. They will have shown the ability to work both with customers and as part of an effective team, will be qualified as a gym instructor, lifeguard, and swimming teacher, and will also have completed a first aid qualification.

CIMSPA have been asked by the employers that developed this apprenticeship to be the quality assurance agency for the award. Our goal is to ensure both that every apprentice has a fantastic learning experience and is assessed fairly. Our role as the quality assurance agency helps employers find quality assured training providers and end point assessment organisations to support their apprentices.

We have received great feedback on the contribution that apprentices make within our sector. It has been demonstrated that apprentices stay in their roles longer, thus improving productivity, with apprenticeships now a key part of creating a talent pipeline into and through our sector.

CIMSPA is proud to have been part of the development of the Leisure Team Member apprenticeship standard and we are looking forward to seeing employers implement it as part of the development of a professional and well-equipped workforce for sector success.

YMCA Awards launches new CIMSPA endorsed ‘Strength and Conditioning’ qualification

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) is today celebrating the success of our awarding organisation partner YMCA Awards on the launch of their Level 2 Certificate in the Foundations of Strength and Conditioning (Trainer) qualification, which has been endorsed against the relevant CIMSPA professional standard.

Read the YMCA Awards news story in full below to find out more about this important new career pathway in sport and physical activity.


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The new ‘Level 2 Certificate in the Foundations of Strength and Conditioning (Trainer)’ has been launched by YMCA Awards.

Previously, strength and conditioning (S&C) training qualifications were only accessed by an exclusive group of elite athletic, football and professional sports club coaches. Due to growing demands for more S&C accessibility within the fitness industry, YMCA Awards have developed and launched a more inclusive qualification, enabling more training providers and learners than ever before to access the prestigious world of S&C.

In order to become a Personal Trainer, learners previously had to achieve a Level 2 Gym Instructor Certificate first. This has changed - learners now have more choice. They can either take the Level 2 S&C (Trainer) pathway or the Level 2 Gym Instructor pathway to become a Personal Trainer or they can take both to broaden their skills and client base.

The existing Gym Instructor qualification tends to focus on maintaining the general health and fitness of members of the public, whereas the S&C (Trainer) is geared towards learners who specifically want to coach sports teams, enhance performance and improve the efficiency of their clients’ movements. Those aspiring to become professional sports coaches, are more likely to achieve their goal if they have a Level 2 S&C (Trainer) qualification as opposed to a Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification. The Level 2 S&C (Trainer) bridges the skills gap between a Personal Trainer and a Performance Coach.

Unlike other awarding bodies who are also offering Level 2 S&C (Trainer), the YMCA’s qualification has been fully endorsed and mapped to CIMSPA’s professional standard - the UK body for the sport and physical activity sector. Colin Huffen, CIMSPA’s Head of Education welcomes the launch of this new qualification:

“CIMSPA would like to congratulate our partners, YMCA Awards, on their early adoption of the Strength and Conditioning Trainer professional standard, and developing this ‘first of a kind’ qualification. By aligning this qualification with the sector’s professional standards, YMCA Awards have provided learners with a great entry point into a fulfilling career in strength and conditioning – a qualification which will offer clear progression and a pathway into this growing profession.”

Paula Wells, Director of YMCA Awards, explains why the new YMCA Level 2 Certificate in the  Foundations of Strength and Conditioning (Trainer) is so significant:

“Our new CIMSPA endorsed qualification provides a long awaited segue into the exciting world of sport specialisation and training. It’s a great entrance point into the industry and builds upon the knowledge, skills and behaviours of professionals who want to work with a more diverse client base, from athletes to the general public and local communities. Focusing on the foundations of movement is a strong base which will improve their clients’ sporting activities, reduce the risk of injury and benefit their everyday lives. This qualification can also be delivered alongside our Gym Instructing and/or Group Exercise qualifications without having to repeat common modules. It’s essential to every education centre’s qualification offering.”

For more information about the new YMCA Level 2 Certificate in the Foundations of Strength and Conditioning (Trainer), please visit:


Or contact YMCA Awards Business Development Team: awards.commercial@ymca.co.uk

Suffolk Sport onboard as first CIMSPA lead employer partner


Suffolk Sport, the County Sports Partnership (CSP) for Suffolk, have joined CIMSPA as a lead employer partner – the first CSP in the country to work with the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity in this way.

Suffolk Sport works to improve health and wellbeing across Suffolk by inspiring everyone to be more active. As the first CIMSPA lead employer partner, Suffolk Sport will use its influence to promote CIMSPA’s work across the county’s entire sport and physical activity sector.

One of the goals of the new Suffolk workforce strategy, which highlights the value and importance of CIMSPA membership, is to encourage sport and physical activity professionals in the county to join CIMSPA. Suffolk Sport, as the regional lead for the East, will endorse CIMSPA membership – offering a 20% discount when professionals sign up through Suffolk Sport.

Susannah Challis, Workforce Development Officer at Suffolk Sport commented: “We have already had the opportunity to explore the many benefits of CIMSPA partnership – from membership discounts and improved network links to the opportunity to provide input into the development of professional standards.

“Our partnership has also granted us access to the CIMSPA Academy which entitles our employees to over 300 hours of extremely valuable, free eLearning developmental CPD courses.  

“The relationship that we have formed with CIMSPA has been extremely positive and we are very much looking forward to working closely with them in the future in order to drive the improvement and professionalism of Suffolk’s sport and physical activity sector.”

Spencer Moore, CIMSPA Director of Strategy commented: “We are pleased to have Suffolk Sport onboard as a CIMSPA employer partner. It’s great to have experts within the industry working alongside CIMSPA, to develop professional standards and produce a workforce that is professional and employable, not only in Suffolk but throughout the UK.”

CIMSPA were pleased to have been involved in Suffolk Sport’s recent event to unveil “Developing a Workforce Fit for the Future” – Suffolk’s new workforce strategy, which looks to the future of our sector’s workforce and is fully aligned to CIMSPA’s goals of a professional, highly skilled sport and physical activity workforce.

About Suffolk Sport

Suffolk Sport is one of 43 County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) across England. Suffolk Sport works in conjunction with a wide range of partners including local authorities, public sector bodies and the voluntary sector to “improve health and wellbeing across Suffolk by inspiring everyone to be more active”. Working towards this strategic vision and through sport and physical activity, Suffolk Sport aims to:

  • Improve health and wellbeing by increasing participation and reducing inactivity.

  • Demonstrate leadership across the sector in order to build insight, infrastructure and capacity.

  • Strengthen community social and economic wellbeing across Suffolk.

In doing so, Suffolk Sport aims to contribute to making Suffolk England’s Most Active County. For more information, click here:

CIMSPA partner Pearson gain professional standards endorsement for fitness qualification

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The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) is today highlighting the achievement of our awarding organisation partner Pearson, who are celebrating the successful endorsement of the Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Fitness Services qualification against two CIMSPA employer-led professional standards.

This is the first Pearson BTEC to be endorsed against the CIMSPA professional standards for a fitness qualification and represents a great step forward towards making sure the sector’s workforce are the best they can be.

Becky Laffan, Pearson’s Sector Manager for Sport said: “At Pearson we're passionate about the sport sector's future workforce. We're delighted to be working closely with CIMSPA for this important partnership that will allow learners to progress with confidence to a career in the fitness industry."

Tara Dillon, CIMSPA CEO, added: “I would like to congratulate our partners Pearson on the successful endorsement of their first BTEC course.

“By embracing the CIMSPA professional standards for gym instructor and core group exercise instructor they are offering a qualification that provides the knowledge and skills that the fitness industry requires.  

“I commend Pearson for their dedication to raising workforce standards and making sure that their qualifications deliver employability.”

Fitness professionals completing this qualification can do so with confidence that they are acquiring the knowledge and skills that are in demand by employers.

For more information on the BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Fitness Services please click HERE

CIMSPA and Sport England commission independent consultation research

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Sporting People have been commissioned by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), with Sport England backing, to undertake independent research and consultation on the potential for a sector-wide registration scheme to support qualified and competent sport and physical activity professionals in England.

This fully-independent consultation has been driven by the outcomes of the Duty of Care in Sport Review carried out by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in 2017, as well as the ambitions of the Sport England workforce, coaching and volunteering strategies. Together these outline a clear desire at governmental level that the English sport and physical activity sector ensures opportunities to be physically active and play sport are presented to the public in a safe and consistent way.

The project provides an opportunity for the sport and physical activity sector to contribute their views and consider whether a common approach can ensure the sector presents the end user and other stakeholders with an appropriately qualified and safe workforce in a transparent way.

The consultation will also address the needs of the public health sector, parents and other groups in ensuring that the sport and physical activity sector’s work is delivered with trust and competence.

It will also determine if a consensus exists for a sector-wide solution to these challenges, and a practical route to that solution, to ensure that the public and others always experience high quality interactions with the sporting workforce.

One of the potential end goals and outcomes for discussion, is to work with the sector and agree on a consensus that ensures participants and potential new entrants are given the best possible support and guidance, ensuring that the right people with the right skills are in the right place to deliver safe and inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities.

The consultation project is being led by the newly-formed Sporting People organisation, who specialise in helping organisations develop the people who make sport and physical activity happen. Lead consultants Dan Thorp, Steve Mitchell and Rob Young have, between them, over 60 years’ experience across the sport and physical activity sector – from advising national governing bodies through 3rd sector sport to learning and development work.

Speaking about the consultation project, Caroline Fraser, Director of Workforce, Sport England, said: “Delivering our ambitions for an active nation needs a workforce which feels united and proud to be part of the sport and physical activity sector, and is recognised as professional by the public.

“This consultation provides our sector with a unique insight-driven opportunity to help protect the integrity of our sector.”

Sporting People are keen to listen to the views of the widest possible range of sport and physical activity sector organisations and professionals. To register your interest in being a part of this consultation please contact the project team on info@sportingpeople.co.uk.

The Coaching Plan for England: Two years on.

This month Sport England released an update on their Coaching in an Active Nation, launched in 2017. 

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The Coaching Plan for England is challenging the sector to re-imagine the provision of coaching from the perspective of the participant or potential participant. A significant number of stakeholders have already embarked on this journey and there are signs that the plan is acting as a ‘lever for change’ across the coaching system. 

The aim of the update is to build on this initial progress by working to increase cohesion and alignment of organisations across the sector by supporting them to adhere to the new framework of professional standards, while at the same time retaining enough flexibility to support each organisation to progress at their own pace.

CIMSPA have been leading the field in this work after funding from Sport England. Currently we have signed over 100 endorsed quality assured Skills Development Partners providing development opportunities within the sector and this number looks to steadily rise in the new year. 

CIMSPA are also responsible for a new range of over 25 professional standards which have been developed as a means to regulate the sector and ensure a level of quality in the training and deliverance of coaching qualifications while also increasing opportunities in the field.

Finally we have been commissioned to begin consultation for a National Workforce registration scheme which will, in turn, create an accreditation programme to recognise deployers that are committed to providing coaches with a high quality learning and development environment.

As part of the scheme carried out over the last two years, UK Coaching commissioned a National Population Survey which explored public opinion of coaches and coaching and had over 20,000 responses. One of the main recommendations made was a closer working relationship between CIMSPA and UK Coaching to implement the coaching plan. 

Spencer Moor, Director of Strategy at CIMSPA said of the findings;

“ Along with the professional workforce strategy, and the volunteering strategy, the Coaching plan for England is one of the 3 pillars in the transformation of the Sport & PA workforce. This publication clearly shows the key contribution and influence that CIMSPA is making to this work. We are also looking forward to building on this over the next two years and working with our partners in implementing the recommendations from the UKCC review. The ever increasing numbers of individuals and organisations that are joining CIMSPA on this journey shows that the work we are doing is both needed and valued by the sector”.

The full report can be found here and the original Coaching Plan for England here

An 'inclusive and diverse' workforce theme for active-net 2019


The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity are delighted to be supporting active-net 2019 to deliver one of the year’s most exciting conferences in our sector.

An “inclusive and diverse workforce” has been announced as the theme for active-net 2019, with bookings already being taken for the sixth annual, two-day conference.

The event will take place on 27-28 March at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham, a charming property set in 26 acres of spectacular grounds, just a short drive from Nottingham City Centre.

active-net brings together over 100 operators and suppliers within the active leisure sector for business focused, pre-selected one-to-one meetings, together with informative workshops, educational sessions, networking lunches and an evening meal with after dinner speaker.

David Monkhouse, director of Leisure-net, a leading customer insight provider for the active leisure sector, and organiser of the active-net event said:

“The leisure sector needs to ensure its workforce is both inclusive and diverse. Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is important for both good people management and business – it’s about valuing everyone in the organisation as an individual. However, to reap the rewards of a diverse workforce it’s essential to have an inclusive environment where all are valued and able to realise their potential.”

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active-net’s opening panel session, titled ‘An inclusive and diverse workforce – ensuring we maximise the talent available’, will be chaired by Andy Reed OBE (Director at The Sports Think Tank and Saje Impact), Tara Dillon (CEO CIMSPA) Sandra Dodd (CEO Places for People Leisure), David Stalker (CEO Oxygen Free Jumping), Andy Delby-Welsh (Deputy CEO Activity Alliance), Hilary Farmiloe (Aspire, InstructAbility National Programme Manager) and Arun Kang (CEO Sporting Equals).

The panellists will bring to the floor their knowledge and practical examples asking; why is it important to have an inclusive and diverse workforce?

The breakout workshops will focus individually on Gender, Disability and BAME (black, Asian, minority, ethnic), helping operators make the most of the talent available to them and explore whether they are accidentally or deliberately excluding people. Already confirmed to lead these workshops are Andy Reed OBE, Tara Dillion (CEO CIMSPA) and Brett Smith (Professor and the Head of Research within the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham).

Andy Reed OBE said: “I’m delighted to be chairing at active-net 2019. The leisure industry is a long way behind where it should be with regards to diversity and inclusivity.  The sessions will challenge the lack of urgency regarding these important issues in the sector. David and the Leisure-net team have pulled together a great panel and I hope to create some stimulating and informative dialogue.”

Monkhouse concludes: “The quality of this year’s speakers and the strength of the panelists debating these important issues will ensure the delegates are armed to make positive steps to diversity in their workforce.”

For further information or to book your place contact Kirsty Reed at Leisure-net by emailing kirstyreed@leisure-net.org or visiting active-net.org