From education to employment

Agile response to emerging trends will help close the skills gap

One of the most significant growth areas for the active leisure sector in recent times has been the rise of outdoor fitness.  Go to a local park or sports ground and there’s a good chance you’ll see people of all ages working out in outdoor gyms, taking part in boot camp training sessions or simply enjoying activities such as brisk walking with their local Healthy Walks group or with friends.

As health and fitness becomes an increasingly important part of everyday life and workouts move away from the traditional gym setting into more inspiring and stimulating outdoor spaces, the transition offers a wealth of exciting educational opportunities for fitness professionals. 

To support their continuing development needs, Active IQ has responded to emerging fitness trends by developing three new Level 3 Awards in Instructing Outdoor Fitness, Nutrition for Sports & Exercise Performance and Conditioning for Exercise & Sports.

Being at the forefront of qualification development, the Active IQ Business Development team has taken the time to listen to customers and gain a detailed understanding of their needs.  The creation of these latest qualifications demonstrates that Active IQ can respond effectively to ever-changing customer requirements and is agile and flexible enough to react to new developments in a fast-moving sector.

Active IQ’s Level 3 Award in Instructing Outdoor Fitness, teaches sector professionals how to plan and lead sessions suitable for open spaces and responds to fitness the emergence of new fitness trends.  One such phenomenon has been Parkrun, which has engaged the nation with its hugely popular free weekly races.  In a recent BBC report, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of Parkrun, outlined his views by stating: “I think the next 10 years is going to see the real impact that Parkrun has delivered to changing not just the health, but the wellbeing of the nation.  We’re helping people come out of their houses who are lonely. We are helping people who have weight issues. We are helping people who have mental issues”.

And it’s not just Parkrun that provides an opportunity to change the health and wellbeing of the nation. It’s all the other activities taking place in open spaces that are enabling a wider audience to access and participate in exercise.

Similarly, Active IQ recognised the role that a healthy balanced diet plays in optimising sport and exercise performance and the new Level 3 Award in Nutrition for Sports & Exercise Performance is designed to enable fitness instructors and personal trainers to build nutrition advice into their work with clients.  The Award in Conditioning for Exercise & Sports Performance was also developed in response to the increasing focus placed by fitness professionals on planning and instructing conditioning programmes to help their clients to improve their performance. 

With so many developments in the world of physical activity, the range of career pathways has significantly expanded and employment opportunities have never been stronger.  Having responded to employer and training provider feedback, Active IQ continues to uphold high quality vocational qualifications and ensure fitness professionals are ready to meet consumer fitness trends as they develop over the coming months and years.

Laura Sheasby is Head of Business Development at Active IQ, the UK’s leading Ofqual recognised Awarding Organisation for the Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing Sector.

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