EuropeActive held its third live Training Provider Forum event on Thursday, 7th April during FIBO 2022 in Cologne, Germany. The event was entitled 'Accreditation post-pandemic – taking a balanced view' and was set up as an open forum for the exchange of thoughts and ideas around on-going accreditation policies. EuropeActive now has a community of 150 accredited providers and the aim was to continue the work of establishing consistent and best practice across this community.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate impact on training providers’ ability to deliver and assess their educational programmes. Providers were forced to innovate and develop existing or new blended offerings to meet the restrictions imposed. EuropeActive also had to show flexibility in allowing adapted practices amongst its accredited training providers. As a result of such imposed changes, attitudes across the education sector and the wider public to the way we learn have shifted. With this in mind, we now need to take a balanced view of training provider provision beyond the short-term impacts of COVID-19.
Julian Berriman, the Director of EuropeActive’s Educational Services Department, opened proceedings by informing the group of the work being done to establish a Sector Skills Pathway in which EuropeActive’s Accreditation Service would play a key role, as well as the potential to expand this function to include a European certification of learners within a Certifying Organisation. This was a longer-term goal looking towards the Sectoral Manifesto for EuropeActive’s Horizon 2025, which would be dependent on the consolidation of EuropeActive’s accreditation policies and processes and the information and feedback gained from discussion-based events such as the Training Provider Forum.
The Accreditation Manager, Charlie Heywood, then led the group in a productive exchange of thoughts and ideas to formulate the vision for Educational Services as we move into a new landscape following the pandemic. Issues discussed with the group included agreeing on the requirements for the number of observations of tutor delivery and assessment to ensure consistent practice across training teams. It was also agreed amongst the group that video submissions would be acceptable as standard practice for assessments of learner practical gym-based sessions, and the amount of hours of training delivered via real time virtual classrooms was also set. Finally, it was the consensus amongst the group that theory examinations such as oral questioning and exam questions including multiple choice theory questions could be delivered via a tutor live in a virtual classroom.
It is always difficult to strike a balance between the importance of face-to-face delivery in real time against the need to be progressive and capitalise on innovations in terms of the support that online options can provided. EuropeActive is very aware of the sensitivity that exists in this area and will continue to take a balanced view in the best interests of learners and the on-going professionalisation of our workforce. Events such as the Training Provider Forum and the feedback received will be invaluable in this regard. 
EuropeActive closed the Training Provider Forum by announcing that the 2022 EuropeActive International Standards Meeting will take place 3rd and 4th November in Prague! We look forward to seeing you all there.
Apr 25, 2022 By Ioana Marica