Gillian Reeves, Head of Instructor Development, spoke recently at the Why Sports Media Group Conference

Gillian Reeves, Head of Instructor Development at EMD UK, was invited to speak at the Why Sports Media Group Conference held recently at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.  The conference, entitled Activating the Nation, re-visited the collective progress made against the Sport England ‘Sporting Future’ and ‘Towards an Active Nation’ strategies.  Both strategies called for the fitness sector to re-evaluate its approach, commitment and direction, in order to reverse the trend of inactivity which is strangling our nation.

The 4th Annual Why Sports Conference was designed to pull all aspects of current policy delivery together.  Dedicated workshop sessions concentrated on key Sport England objectives and insights, examining what has worked and the lessons learned where things have and have not succeeded.

Gillian gave a presentation on EMD UK’s new Group Training Qualifications and CPD, outlining why there is a need and what problems they will help to solve.  She was the only presenter to get her audience moving and on its feet by asking how many people took part in group exercise classes each week.  People who were still standing as the figure of over 4.5million was reached correctly ‘voted with their feet’.  Group training is one of the fastest growing trends in the fitness industry and a key element in Sport England’s strategy to get the nation active.

The group exercise workforce is playing a major role in this initiative and Gillian went on to talk about the importance of an instructor’s role.  An instructor can make or break a participant’s experience, in fact, the instructor is the second biggest motivator on class attendance[1]. The new qualifications are designed to equip personal trainers with the skills needed to deliver successful group exercise classes.  Good customer care is a high priority as a good or bad experience can impact people’s health.  If a customer has a good experience, they are more likely to go back, while a bad experience will confirm all of their barriers and it may be years until they try out another class or sport.

Gillian then went on to consider whether the CPD is enough to address improving workforce soft skills.  She then asked whether the industry has fully appreciated the impact of the instructor and do our actions towards them reflect their value?  Finally, she asked the conference to consider how much time is spent supporting the workforce with a focus on coaching and professional development.  Gillian then sat on the panel for a question and answer session, contributing to a ‘thought-provoking day of debate and collaboration’.

On the group exercise workforce and the importance of qualifications, Gillian said ‘As a national governing body, we’re passionate about improving the quality of class delivery across the sector and support instructors to do so. It is important that instructors take time to consider how they can develop their skills both in and out of the studio with regards to customer care. It is vital that employers shift their focus to being more people centric and support their workforce so that they are equipped to offer great experiences.’

More information on all group training qualifications and professional development available from EMD UK can be found on the website or alternatively contact our training team for further advice.

[1] EMD UK National Fitness Survey 2018