[UPDATE 01/05/17: At the time of writing this article I was questioning the value of our minimum professional development standard for FITREC. Shortly after this blog was written, we dropped our requirement for ongoing education in favour of professional transparency.]
While FITREC differs considerably from other registration providers, it does have in common an expectation that professionals meet minimum professional development standards. But maybe this common expectation is actually holding us back…
Could the opposite of how we currently manage fitness registration lead to a stronger, more informed and unified industry?
I was recently looking at a FITREC profile and thought ‘this candidate will not be eligible for renewal if they do not undertake some education.’
But wait! I only know this because their profile was visible!
In fact, I can see exactly what their experience and education is. I can take into account their references. In fact, I have a much greater knowledge of this person than would be possible if they were no longer an active member of FITREC.
This got me thinking; For many years fitness registration has been binary – You have it or you don’t. If you don’t meet standards for professional development, you don’t register. Therefore, there’s no specific accountability. After all, fitness registration is not a legal requirement nor does an absence of registration reflect your abilities.
A lack of registration rarely impacts on employability and certainly has no impact on whether a qualified professional can get insurance.
What if the new industry standard was one of public accountability and transparency?
That is, an expectation that ALL qualified industry professionals were registered, regardless of professional development, so that their experience and qualifications were available for verification by employers (and clients).
‘If anyone with a qualification can register, are we lowering industry standards?’
On the contrary. With the current registered/not registered attitude, there is little attention to exactly what makes up a professionals background. Under an accountability and transparency model, leading professionals (and those just coasting) are more easily identified.
Further to this, many employers set their own benchmark with regards to professional development and in many cases current ‘industry standards’ are not enough. Not to mention, many clubs/studios have varied levels of Trainers within the club – so the standards met by Trainers within a business can vary.
With the new FITREC rating system, rather than simply ‘I’m registered’, it becomes (for example) ‘I’ve got a FITREC rating of 243’. A quick visit to a profile will show everything an employer would like to know.
‘I’m an employer, registered/not registered was an easy filter.”
FITREC rating provides so much more at a glance. A score over 100 shows some effort, over 200 is a professional with some accomplishment and close to 300 (the maximum) you’re dealing with an industry leader.
PLUS the score is only possible by entering relevant information, so any score is verifiable on a publicly visible profile.
The FITREC rating will make recruitment easier – employers might look for a minimum rating – either collectively (out of 300) or for different elements (Education, References or Experience).
When we created FITREC it was because we saw the need for a more representative, responsive, transparent and proactive registration service. As we’ve progressed down this path, two things have become obvious;
- Professionals are put off re-entering/growing their career because, although qualified, are not able to be recognised by any relevant group.
- Those that do become registered often view professional development as a chore rather than a choice.
Rather than FITREC being another sole arbiter of industry suitability, our belief is that it’s time for our fitness industry to take the term ‘self governed’ to heart. Let’s get everyone registered and use accountability and transparency to celebrate the achievers and encourage those that are starting out in the industry, or rejoining after a time of absence.