In these unprecedented times, a fitness and physical activity workforce with the armed with the necessary knowledge and skills is the lifeblood that will sustain us as we transition to a ‘new normal’. None of us yet know exactly what this ‘new normal’ will look like in terms of the necessary adaptations to the service offering both within and beyond the walls of clubs, but it is vital that we anticipate and plan for any likely changes. EuropeActive as the educational standard setting body for the European fitness and physical activity sector is taking the lead in this area.
We have seen an almost breakneck acceleration in the pace of the digitalisation of are industry. Many Personal Trainers have been forced to make the transition to the provision of online personal training while education providers have made a similar leap into the world of online learning.
Governments across Europe have been extolling the virtues of physical activity, particularly in relation to immune system function and mental health and our educational standards will need to reflect this emphasis if we are to sustain the elevated position of our sector in political decision making. We will also need to come to terms with the simple mechanics of offering training facilities and personal training sessions where the need for clients to feel safe and secure will be paramount. Certainly in the short term, social distancing and hygiene will trump all other considerations.
EuropeActive and its Professional Standards Committee (PSC) has been working hard to support the workforce (through the European Register of Exercise Professionals - EREPS) and training providers with roundtable discussions and informative webinars. These have included a regular Accredited Training Provider Roundtable as well as an EREPS Expert Panel of high level personal trainers focussed on online personal training and how personal trainers can best employ this model to continue to work with their clients.
There has also been a webinar presentation on Building a Stronger Immune System which will be followed by presentations on the importance of sleep (particularly in the context of the immune system) and how exercise can contribute to positive mental health. There are plans for many other informative webinars through the EREPS Ambassador programme. These Ambassadors are truly industry experts with years of knowledge building and experience they are willing to share with the EREPS membership in order to keep the workforce informed, engaged and learning.