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Will REPs Accreditation Be Replaced By CIMSPA?

27-04-2016

Many fitness industry employers have become frustrated with what they perceive as too wide a variety in the competence levels of fitness professionals with REPs accredited qualifications, and consequently have helped arrange for a different organization, CIMSPA, to create an alternative professional membership scheme to REPs in an effort to improve industry skill standards.

Many fitness industry employers have become frustrated with what they perceive as too wide a variety in the competence levels of fitness professionals with REPs accredited qualifications, and consequently have helped arrange for a different organization, CIMSPA, to create an alternative professional membership scheme to REPs in an effort to improve industry skill standards…

Over the past twenty-four months, there has been intense debate in the health and fitness industry about the accreditation of vocational fitness qualifications by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

Several of the industry’s leading employers have said that some of the fitness professionals walking through their doors are simply not good enough, despite having earned their qualifications from training providers that deliver REPs accredited courses.

This has lead these leading employers to united and call for a new set of skills standards to be established and regulated by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

CIMSPA were eager to accept this responsibility; the introduction of their own accreditation system to rival REPs is the latest step in their efforts to establish themselves as the fitness industry’s foremost professional entity.

The coalition of industry employers’ request was granted in December 2015, when the government’s Sporting Future strategy directed Sport England to work in conjunction with CIMSPA to develop the new set of standards for the fitness industry.

CIMSPA got to work quickly, and have now unveiled their new membership scheme to the employers as well as a selection of universities, colleges, awarding organizations and training providers. The scheme received generally positive reactions.

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said:

“We are delighted with the response that we have received from the soft launch of our new membership categories. This is a vital step towards our goal of professionalising the sport, fitness and activity workforce and meets the sector’s demand for a robust and quality assured skills development framework.”

The new CIMSPA scheme has two membership options, both costing £30 a year plus VAT:

CIMSPA affiliate status is open to fitness professionals who have completed a REPs accredited level 2 qualification such as a Gym Instructor or Exercise To Music course sometime in the last five years.

CIMSPA practitioner status is open to those who have gained a REPs accredited level 3 qualification such as a Sports Massage or Personal Trainer course sometime in the last five years.

The new scheme does not include an offer of public liability insurance for members, something which is considered one of the biggest draws of REPs membership. It should be noted, however, that REPs insurance still costs an additional £80 after the £40 annual membership fee, which is more than the cost of equivalent insurance from Insure4sport, so suitable insurance can easily be found outside of REPs at a lesser cost.

It still remains to be seen whether this new CIMSPA membership scheme will become more popular and more widely respected than REPs, but it has definitely got off to an excellent start by having the industry’s leading employers firmly behind it.

If REPs do not do more to ensure high standards of competence in their members and the training providers whose courses they accredit, they could eventually find themselves carrying far less weight and considered to be the industry’s second best.

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