EuropeActive hosted the 10th edition of its International Standards Meeting (ISM) on November 21st and 22nd 2019 in Copenhagen at the Black Diamond Building. This year’s theme focused on Differentiation and Specialisation, vital concepts to thrive in Personal Training. EuropeActive’s main event for training providers, employers, practitioners and other stakeholders from the fitness industry successfully covered key topics to ensure comparable and standardised training of fitness professionals, with more than 120 people from all over the world attended the event.
Being from Denmark himself, EuropeActive’s Vice President Andreas Paulsen welcomed delegates to Copenhagen with a brief introduction. Professor Paolo Caserotti from the University of Southern Denmark officially opened ISM 2019 reinforcing the idea of "strengthening collaboration between the fitness sector and academic partners to provide better chances for success to have more people more active more often".
Updates and new plans
After the welcome, the Director of the Professional Standards Committee Julian Berriman took participants through the plans to progress EuropeActive’s educational standards and the implementation of those standards through the accreditation of training providers and EREPS. He also introduced the European Certifying Organisation, EuropeActive’s ambition to put in motion a full system that would provide higher quality assurance and more consistent assessment of students. He said: “This is becoming increasingly important as we need to be able to demonstrate we are regulating ourselves to ensure fitness trainers are probably qualified. This will help build confidence with the European Institutions, national qualification systems, with our employers customers and the students themselves.”
An icebreaker session allowed attendees to interact and get to know each other before participating in the group discussions, divided into two, on learning hours and quality assurance of training providers. After lunch, the early afternoon gave way to the first Panel Session moderated by Fit&Sund Personal Trainer Jeppe Schultz, focussing on the training provider perspective on PTs specialising and differentiating themselves. Panellists Camilla Birkebæk (Hansenberg) Atle Arntzen, (SATS) Henrik Duer, (Fitness Institute) and Søren Fruerlund, (Træner Akademiet) shared their views on professional skills for personal training, bringing interesting concepts and ideas on how to best educate PTs to meet future challenges.
Trends, surveys and a strategic mindset
ISM 2019 also placed the focus on improving the understanding for future labour market changes and fitness trends within the next 10 years in Europe. EuropeActive’s skills foresight was covered by EU Policy Officer Elisabeth Thienemann to understand future skills needs in the European fitness sector. Alexis Batrakoulis from EuropeActive’s Professional Standards Committee launched the results of the first European edition of the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Fitness trends survey in cooperation with EuropeActive and EREPS.
Alexis provided a comparative insight of the European results in the international context to give attendees a holistic overview on the trends and how they are likely to shape the future of the world of work. EuropeActive Director of Programmes Cliff Collins explained in the late afternoon EuropeActive’s strategic decision to help professionalise the fitness sector through standards in two main areas: People and Fitness centres. He shared with the audience the latest news regarding certifications and qualifications to be delivered in the future. The 120 delegates then headed over to Copenhagen’s Llama restaurant for a networking dinner with Nordic-South American fusion food.
PTs to the stand
The International Standards Meeting started its second day with the Panel Session, now looking at specialisation and differentiation from a practitioner’s perspective. On stage with Kasper Danborg (Fitness Institute) as the moderator were Anna Bogdanova, Co-founder of “De Uimodståelige” Steffen Fisker, (Fisker Performance) Martin Pedersen, (Fit&Sund) and Cecilie Lind, (The Protein Kitchen). Their general view on specialisation: "adapting to every client’s needs to deliver the best service possible. Specialisation can help PTs to develop specific skills that match customers’ concrete requests".
Skills and further qualifications for Personal Trainers were also discussed to enable PTs to develop professionally on higher EQF levels and to provide real structure and benefit to the fitness employment pathway of the future. PSC Deputy Director on Standards Anna Szumilewicz and Associate Professor at ESDRM Rita Santos Rocha led a session themed ‘Beyond level 4: Pathways for the aspiring fitness professional’. Szumilewicz identified "learning outcomes and the assessment strategy of the achievements" key aspects for fitness professionals. Rita focused on the "standarization of titles, professional regulation and clarity between existing roles" as the way for the fitness sector to move forward in terms of employability and credibility. CIMSPA Head of Regulations and Standards Colin Huffen finished the presentations round by introducing some good examples of career development for fitness professionals in the UK.
Celebrating the 10th edition
The two-day conference culminated with Director of the Professional Standards Committee Julian Berriman summarizing the event and thankinf delegates for their attendance. As a special feature of the 10th ISM, a lottery was held with to win a Golden Goodie Bag with EuropeActive’s publications and goodies worth over € 250. The special goodie bag was won by Rita Santos Rocha, Associate Professor at ESDRM.
EuropeActive would like to thank ISM event sponsors; fit&sund, Medicsport, Gymmio, Fitness Institute, Healthlab, GO fit, State Energy, Sport Solution, Polar and Motosumo.