CIMSPA lead Business of Physical Activity seminar at Elevate 2019

CIMSPA are excited to once again be lead supporters of Elevate 2019 - the UK’s largest physical activity trade show . We are pleased to attend again and showcase CIMSPA’s work and vision of a respected and professional sport and physical activity sector. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend Elevate at ExCeL, on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th May 2019 and CIMSPA will be in attendance at stand A94, so make sure to come and see us to discuss your future career pathway and how we can help you achieve chartered status.

As part of our event involvement we are supporting The Business of Physical Activity seminar stream. The theme of these sessions is focused on how leisure businesses can perform as efficiently and effectively as possible, despite mounting financial pressures.

Our own Tara Dillon, CIMSPA CEO, is chairing two panels: the ‘Inclusivity: preparing the workforce session’ and ‘Bridging the skills gap - helping the physical activity sector support the health sector’. More details of these sessions are below.

Dillon commented, “We are very pleased to be returning to Elevate again as lead supporters for a third year.

“Elevate presents a great opportunity to meet professionals from all parts of the sport and physical activity sector and to have interesting discussions on the important topics and challenges facing us in the coming years. These seminars are focused on getting the most from your business, whether that is through increased inclusivity or creating the spaces that customers want.

“We’re looking forward to seeing many visitors to our stand and hope they find our seminar stream informative and helpful.”

Members will get 3 CIMSPA CPD points for attending, so make sure to come along to the CIMSPA stand (A94) to claim your points.

Seminar highlights

Inclusivity: preparing the workforce

This session will discuss how a new set of evidence-based industry guidelines can help training providers and employers become more inclusive and ensure their training and workplaces are inclusive to disabled people. Your panel includes: Hilary Farmiloe, Instructability National Manager; Professor Brett Smith, Head of Research School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham and Richard Millard, Partnerships Director at Places for People.

Bridging the skills gap - helping the physical activity sector support the health sector

With an inactivity crisis and an ageing population, physical activity practitioners must be able to work with increasing numbers of people living with one or more long term health conditions. This session will discuss what knowledge, skills, educational pathways and behaviours need to be adapted to meet the needs of an inactive and ageing population. Moreover, it will question how professionals can be properly equipped with the right qualifications to work with health sector colleagues to support long term societal behaviour change towards a growing inactive and ageing population.

Alongside Tara Dillon, the session’s speakers include: Dr Steven Mann, Head of Healthy Communities at Places for People Leisure; Anthony Crozier, Health and Wellbeing research and development specialist at FutureFit Training and Dr Anna Lowe, Physical Activity Clinical Champion at Public Health England.

There are a wealth of other sessions throughout the Business of Physical Activity seminar stream, covering a broad set of topics with something for everyone including creating an effective digital marketing strategy, unleashing the value of your PT team and innovative approaches to big builds.

For more information on all of the Elevate seminar streams, the 2019 conference and all of those displaying at the trading event please go to:

What's your view? Workforce registration consultation continues

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CIMSPA is asking frontline sport and physical activity professionals to take part in a survey as part of its workforce registration and regulation consultation – funded by Sport England and delivered by independent consultants Sporting People.

The survey canvases workforce views on ensuring that the public continue to value and trust the sector’s work.

The survey covers:

  • The challenges facing sector professionals.

  • What measures might be appropriate to check individuals are qualified and competent to work with the public.

  • Opinions as to the idea of a national register for those in the sector who are trusted sport and physical activity professionals.

This is an important opportunity chance to influence how working in sport and physical activity continues to grow as a recognised and respected profession - valued and trusted by the customers and communities that the sector works with.

The survey is completely anonymous, takes about 5 minutes to complete and will be open until 14th May 2019.

The project so far...

Last year, CIMSPA and Sport England commissioned independent consultants Sporting People to undertake an independent research and consultation project on the appropriate level of registration and regulation in England to support qualified and competent professionals in the sport and activity workforce.

Sporting People have already successfully hosted one-to-one meetings and workshops around the country to collect feedback from industry professionals in all areas of the sector. These have provided many invaluable contributions, with the new survey an important “next step” in the consultation.

Two CIMSPA professional standards consultations now open

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CIMSPA are excited to have begun an open consultation on two forthcoming professional standards: Working with Antenatal and Postnatal Clients and Working in the Community Environment.

We are seeking general feedback on these standards’ content from both individuals and organisations within the sector - especially those with particular expertise in either, or both, of these areas.

The rollout of the finished standards will take place later this year.

Employers will then have a single point of reference to standardise the recruitment, training and professional development of those working in either of these specialist roles.

The drafts of both Working with Antenatal and Postnatal Clients and Working in the Community Environment can be downloaded at the links below. The same links are also the gateways into the consultation questionnaires.

These consultations will be open until Tuesday 23 April.

For information on either consultation please contact our Education and Apprenticeships Officer, Natasha Eason using the details below:

Natasha Eason
Education and Apprenticeships Officer
Mobile: 07741 643066

CPD Highlight - SOSA Dance Ltd

Inclusive and fun-packed Seated SOSA ‘chair dance’ class gives everyone the chance to dance

Are you sitting down? You’ll need to be!

SOSA Dance Ltd offer three CIMSPA recognised Instructor Training programmes which all carry a maximum 10 CPD points; SOSA Dance Fitness which is offered in two formats, as both live and online courses, and their new Seated SOSA Dance Fitness programme.


SOSA has currently trained over 400 specialist instructors across the UK and in ten countries around the world.

Led by Founder and Principal Katy Barrow, SOSA Dance aims to, within the next two years have trained over 1,500 SOSA and Seated SOSA Dance Fitness instructors reaching 50,000 people every week. Both SOSA and Seated SOSA have proven to be very successful in community settings, leisure centres, dance schools and care homes.

SOSA offers a fantastic insight into the world of dance using authentic footwork, arms and body styling for 36 international dance styles. With simple routines that are low impact and high energy, SOSA is accessible for everyone who loves to dance and anyone who’s ever wanted to learn.

A Seated SOSA class features a variety of authentic international dance styles with each routine broken down into easy-to-learn sections that can be adapted to different speeds and ranges of movement set to a soundtrack of chart hits from different decades.

“I’m really passionate about making SOSA a truly ‘inclusive’ community class,” Katy emphasises, “which means being genuinely suitable and adaptable for all ages and abilities, shapes and sizes, faiths and cultures. All of our qualified instructors have found this to have a really strong appeal among their groups, and as demand is growing fast, we need more fantastic, inspiring instructors to fulfil the potential out there.”

Katy has spent the last four years working tirelessly behind the scenes creating a class that is genuinely fully accessible at every level.  

“My passion for Seated SOSA has grown and grown on a daily basis,” says Katy. “Every person that I have consulted during the development process has helped to give me a unique and invaluable insight into their specific, often diverse needs. I have always been clear that those needs must be very carefully integrated into a mixed group class. I’ve been inspired by so many people along the way, and their excitement about a ‘chair dance’ class so I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved for them.”

Following the recent launch of this new training programme, Katy welcomed a CIMSPA external quality assurance (EQA) review of the training and assessment procedures.

Following the visit, CIMSPA’s Quality Assurance Manager Jane Mellors said “At our recent visit, we congratulated SOSA Dance on their delivery of the Seated SOSA Dance Fitness Instructor programme. The addition of music and dance moves to a basic chair-based exercise class transforms the atmosphere and makes it fun, enjoyable and sociable for participants. SOSA offer a high quality delivery of fully inclusive training as well as ongoing support to instructors. Well done Katy Barrow!”

Katy said “I am so proud and delighted with the glowing review from our recent CIMSPA EQA visit, it is so important to me that our training meets the highest standards in the industry. My vision for the future is to make dance accessible to EVERYONE, and this comes with providing the best quality training possible for all qualified fitness and dance professionals across the sector. We want instructors who are passionate about inspiring more people to get active and the benefits of both the physical improvement and mental wellbeing that dance brings.

“SOSA is very proud to be working alongside CIMSPA to achieve this goal and believes that all S&PA professionals should be CIMSPA members. The EQA visit was incredibly professional and time was spent talking to individual trainees to gain feedback on the programme during the course of the day. Following the visit and the review of our materials and resources, it was suggested that we update our Appeals document and we were given excellent guidance on reviewing and amending this procedure. Next time you visit us CIMSPA, please be prepared to have a set of maracas in your hands and to sing louder!”

To find out more about SOSA and Seated SOSA Dance Fitness, please visit our website at

To keep up with all the latest news and class launches, follow @SOSAFitness on Facebook, @SOSAFit on Twitter or @sosadancefit on Instagram.

To contact Katy Barrow, please email or call 07715 252524.

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: