EREPS opens registration to university graduates

EREPS has proven to be an amazing platform for increasing your visibility on the European labour market. The standards ensure that your training, education and experience will be recognised in all participating member states. Because higher education institutions already have their own accreditation systems, however, university graduates could not get accredited under EREPS. To resolve this, EuropeActive has decided to apply a different procedure regarding the academic levels of the EQF that differs from the implemented approach for vocational standards. Find out what requirements EREPS candidates need to fulfill to be registered as “Advanced Health & Exercise Specialists”.

You’ve heard it all before ­- university graduates can’t find work. Bad economy? Lack of opportunities? Well the story isn’t as simple as that.

Without a doubt, European higher education institutions offer excellent programmes in the fields of exercise sciences, kinesiology, health and fitness, sport sciences, and so on. But did you know that the European health and fitness market provides amazing job opportunities for graduates coming from those educational backgrounds?

A perfect combination, right?

In reality, there are not enough graduates working in the fitness industry. This, in turn, produces a lack of knowledge and expertise to deliver meaningful outcomes on the European Public Health agenda.

The problem is that until now, university graduates could not be registered in the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS), as the current framework of occupations was limited to the vocational levels from 2 up to 5.

The system of registration is based on the development of standards for the different levels. Training providers can apply their courses for accreditation. After the successful completion, graduates of these vocational courses are automatically registered onto EREPS.

The next logical step would be to develop standards for the first level of higher education, the level 6. However, the higher education institutions already have their own accreditation systems.

Due to their recognition and standing within the educational landscape, an application for accreditation like the vocational training providers, would be a very unrealistic scenario. This in turn, results in a serious disadvantage for their graduates in the labour market: no visibility in the EREPS.

Introducing EQF-level 6: the Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist

Hence, EuropeActive decided to apply a different procedure regarding the academic levels of the EQF that differs from the implemented approach for vocational standards to improve recognition and visibility of the aforementioned graduates. It is called the “requirements profile”. The occupational title for the EQF-level 6 is “Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist”.

The “requirements profile” for graduates is based on the idea that professionals with a bachelor/undergraduate degree in sport sciences, kinesiology, exercise sciences, etc., can be registered in the EREPS if they fulfil the requirements that have been developed by a Technical Expert Group, in first place, and by a group of external consultants, which consisted of professors, lecturers, researchers and exercise professionals representing those fields.

To be registered in the EREPS as “Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist”, candidates must fulfil the following requirements:

1. Qualification Requirement

The Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist registered at EREPS, holds an undergraduate degree with, at least, the amount of credits needed for each of the contents considered as essential and specific to fulfil the occupational roles described for this professional. The undergraduate degree may be specifically in Exercise Sciences, but also in Sport Sciences, Physical Education, or have other title, which might not reflect those contents.

2. Experience Requirement

An Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist is expected to work in the health and fitness industry as professional having basic management responsibility and research knowledge with considerable experience (minimum 300 hours) as a personal trainer or exercise specialist. It must have been accomplished in a health and fitness setting or equivalent after graduation. Note that a verified statement from the employer or any other person in charge is compulsory.

3. Degree Content Requirements

Most bachelor programmes in Europe comprise a total of 180 ECTS (although some countries have 240 ECTS). For this purpose, specific exercise science contents must comprise of at least 90 credit points based on European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The complete list of the relevant contents is published on EuropeActive’s standards website http://www.ehfa-standards.eu.

The Professional Standards Committee believes that, on the one hand, this recognition process based on the requirements profile is simple, practical and will give great visibility to the Advanced Health & Exercise Specialist in the European labour market. On the other hand, this process will allow the recognition of graduates, independently of their country, higher education institution or programme designation.

The pilot phase of level 6 applications was held from October to December 2015. The open application for registration will be accepted on EREPS website by the beginning of February 2016.

Julian Berriman, Director of Professional Standards Committee

Rita Santos-Rocha, Deputy Director of Professional Standards Committee