WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition

worldskills.jpgRob Wilkie, SkillsActive Compliance and Standards Manager, recently acted as a judge for the heats of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition.  This competition, managed by Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport, is the only active leisure skills competition in the UK for students working towards careers in the sport and leisure industry, and is a great opportunity for students to showcase their skills in a competitive environment.

This particular heat was held at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke, and saw competitors perform in either the Gym Instructor or Personal Trainer categories.  Rob was a judge for the latter category and was impressed by the high standard and great potential he saw in the students.

The next stage in this competition are the national semi-finals which will be held at Loughborough University in July, with the national finals to be held at The Skills Show in November at the NEC Birmingham.

Upcoming Events

Here are some of the events that are going to be taking place around the country in the coming months – we plan to be at most if not all of them, so if you are going too let us know if you would like to meet up!

REPS  REPs Roadshows: If you are an endorsed provider, these roadshows offer a great opportunity to offer bitesize master classes to REPs members so they can get a feel of the training you offer. Find out all the details on the REPs website.

LIW Leisure Industry Week: LIW is the UK’s largest gathering of leisure decision makers, influencers and buyers, bringing together thousands of like-minded professionals to shape the future and growth of the sector, and is taking place in Birmingham on 20-21 September 2016. Full details here.

foodmattersFood Matters Live: The conference will address the political, social and economic issues surrounding the complex and challenging relationship between food, health and nutrition. 400 speakers across 80 seminar sessions and 17 live debates taking place at the ExCeL in London on 22-24 November 2016.

REPS_BADGE_CPD 6_LOGO SkillsActive Training Days: We have released September dates for the next tutor, assessor and internal quality assurance workshops for anyone seeking endorsement or wanting to brush up their skills. The places are filling up first so don’t miss out! Full details here.

meynell National Playwork Conference: The 15th National Playwork Conference will be taking place in Eastbourne, East Sussex on Tuesday 7th March and Wednesday 8th March 2017. Find details here of the first call for presentations.

 

Contact us at endorsement@skillsactive.com if you would like your event in our next newsletter.

CPD for Endorsed Providers

Tutor training

Having sent out our recent customer survey asking endorsed providers what extra services we could provide, we discovered that a significant number wanted additional tutor training for existing tutors.

SkillsActive would therefore like to introduce you to ‘Inspirational Teaching’, a continuing professional development training course for tutors.  This is the first of many new courses to be exclusively offered to SkillsActive endorsed training providers in partnership with Habia.

You can find out more about the course and what you will learn here.

Training dates and venues to follow, but you can register your interest now by emailing sales@habia.org with your contact details.

 

AfN endorsed so what now?

As you will know, last year the Professional Development team decided to remove nutritional programmes from our endorsement process. This was because we felt that such a specialised topic should be dealt with by a dedicated organisation, and we have therefore been working with the Association for Nutrition (AfN) to bring this about.

After a successful pilot, the first AfN endorsed programmes are coming through. So if you have been endorsed by AfN, what now?

Well, simply put the programmes through the Quality Training Portal in the usual way if you have a Multiple Endorsement, or, if you are operating under Single Endorsements, submit it through the Single Course submission form, where you will be able to bypass the normal evidence requirements.

In both cases, you must send through your official endorsement confirmation from AfN to endorsement@skillsactive.com. Nothing can be endorsed without it!

If you have any questions, please contact the Professional Development team on 0203 434 4384 or endorsement@skillsactive.com

Provider Profile: aquaphysical

Aquaphysical is one of our newest endorsed providers and we asked them to let us know how things are going and how endorsement has helped them.aquaphysicalWhat is aquaphysical?

Aquaphysical is the company that sells the innovative aquabase® and the hugely popular floatfit® classes.

How did aquaphysical start?

After several months developing the idea, Leila Francis Coleman joined forces with Tom Whelan (fitness professional and rugby player) and aquaphysical was formed. This was when research started in earnest on the aquabase®. After discussions with experienced fitness professionals to develop the product and class, including yoga and Pilates instructors, personal trainers and physiotherapists, the aquabase® design was produced in prototype form. Product trials followed in early 2015.

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How did you make the transition from fitness professional to training provider?

Tom used the knowledge, insight and contacts that he had as a personal trainer and rugby player. Leila used her own experience as an end user as well as her sailing background. Together they were able to create the effective and enjoyable class floatfit®. There are now over 60 floatfit® Instructors working in Europe and there are an increasing number of Master Trainers being trained to meet the growing demand.

How did you find the endorsement process?

The SkillsActive and REPS team were extremely helpful and I would strongly advise anyone who has an idea to pursue it! Having our training endorsed with REPS has increased our opportunities within the fitness industry.

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What are your future plans?

There is now enormous interest worldwide about the floatfit® class and there are various developments in the pipeline. We hope that it will be internationally renowned!

What does success look like to you for aquaphysical?

To have floatfit® classes taking place in swimming pools on every continent. With Master Trainers working in each country helping the team and brand continue to grow.

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What, in your opinion, does aquaphysical bring to customers and the fitness industry?

Aquaphysical brings a completely unique and fresh way to look at swimming pool usage. Swimming pools within leisure facilities will appeal to a wider demographic of people.

Customers will appreciate the effectiveness and great benefits of the classes as well as the fact that they are enormous fun.

The aquabase® is the first and only floating exercise mat that provides gym studio workouts on the water. Providing a perfect platform for many forms of exercise. Completely unique and a fresh evolution of the way swimming pool/gym classes can now be held.

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For more information visit www.aquaphysical.com or contact Tom Whelan at tom@aquaphysical.com or Leila Francis-Coleman at leila@aquaphysical.com.

Learner feedback – what to do?

Gathering feedback from learners can prove very useful. Here we looks at the ways, means and reasons for implementing this invaluable tool.

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The term ‘feedback’ is used to describe the helpful information or criticism from an individual, communicated to another who can use that information to adjust and improve current and future actions and behaviors.

Effective feedback, both positive and negative, is very helpful. Feedback is valuable information that will be used to make important decisions. Top performing companies are top performing companies because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better. For top performing companies ‘continuous improvement’ is not just a showy catchphrase. It’s a true focus based on feedback from across the entire organisation – customers, clients, employees, and stakeholders. Top performing companies are not only good at accepting feedback, they deliberately ask for feedback. They also know that feedback is helpful when it highlights weaknesses as well as strengths.

Feedback is about effective listening. Whether done verbally or via a feedback survey, the person providing the feedback needs to know that their feedback provides some value. Do you explain why respondents’ feedback is important and how their feedback will be used? Do you respond to written feedback given on the evaluation/feedback form?

By asking for feedback, it can actually motivate employees to perform better, for tutors and assessors knowing that the student has the opportunity to give feedback may motivate them to give the best possible service.

Unfortunately sometimes feedback can be mistaken for criticism. In fact, what may be viewed as negative criticism could actually be seen as constructive criticism and this kind of feedback helps to formulate better decisions to improve and increase performance?

Things to consider when creating an evaluation/feedback tool

How should it be presented? Consider the benefits of an online or paper based format. Sending an email with a link to an online format may be more convenient for people, they can do it when they have time, they may feel less under pressure and be more honest with their feedback and it may be easier for you to compile reports; however if you ask for people to complete a paper version at the end of the course are you more likely to get a higher completion rate? Is it quality versus quantity?

A committee of the American Association of University Professors researched the effectiveness of evaluations for university teachers. They found that institutions that had adopted online evaluations reported much lower student return rates than those who stuck with paper evaluations: 20-40% versus 80% or higher.

“With such a rate of return, all pretensions to ‘validity’ are rendered dubious,” the paper says. “The comments coming in are from the students on either of the extremes: those very happy with their experience and/or their grade, and those very unhappy.” (Inside Higher Ed Colleen Flaherty June 10, 2015).

Other companies have looked at rewarding for responding, entry to a free prize draw for completing the evaluation etc, but again would this only incentivise a certain type of student, therefore again affecting the validity of the evaluations completed?

 What content should be included on the form?

Using the right key to get the most effective feedback is essential. Most evaluations use the following kind of key:

Please rate the following on a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being poor 5 being excellent.  If you do use this explain what 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 means.

1 (not at all effective), 2, 3, 4 (moderately effective), 5,  (extremely effective), try not to just put 1 – 5 as most people will tend to pick 3, and what is this really telling you, a scale of 1 -3 may be better, it was either 1 not effective 2 effective or 3 outstanding for example.

Try to keep it to one side of paper, or allow them to write feedback on the back; consider asking feedback for the pre-course administration, the course resources, facilities, staff, their action plan from this course, how do they plan to use this training? What other training do they need?

Should they give their name? Well, not putting their name may mean they feel able to give more honest feedback as you don’t know who said what, however how are you able to respond to their feedback? You may wish to follow up on a point they have raised or to let them know that you have taken onboard their feedback and made changes.

The right time

When is the right time to ask people to complete the evaluation, is it at the end of the day? Or after their assessments? How will it affect their feedback if they fail? Could this potentially compromise their objectivity?  A lot of people are keen to get off as soon as the course is finished, maybe they have trains to catch or children to pick up, so maybe last coffee break would be a better time, or when you’re giving 121 feedback to other learners.

A research at an Italian University even found the weather affected students’ feedback: when the weather was better the feedback was better, if it was raining the feedback deteriorated! Obviously you cannot control the weather and only ask for feedback on nice sunny days (this is the UK!), but maybe if you do receive negative feedback consider other factors that may have affected the students’ feedback such as them failing the course, rain or time of day the feedback was given.

So to summarise, is it essential to have a mechanism in place to allow people to give you feedback? Do we only need to ask for feedback if we are delivering a course but not for workshops?  I hope that your answer to these questions is yes! Feedback is invaluable for all types of training, so take the time to collate your feedback don’t just file it away. Look for recurring feedback and create a plan to change and improve the service you are offering, maybe advertise on your website how you have taken on board the feedback and the changes you are planning to make or have made.