Loughborough College’s Sarah Woodhouse claims WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition gold

Sarah Woodhouse of Loughborough College was named WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition champion on Saturday night, following two days of competition at the Skills Show.

Matthew Pippard from City of Glasgow College claimed the silver medal, while Cambridge Regional College’s Harrison Fernandez came in third.

Fourth-placed Ricky Raybould of Coleg Gwent was also ‘highly commended’.

The AoC Sport-managed event, which ran from Thursday to Saturday at the NEC in Birmingham, was the culmination of months of competition which saw more than 150 entrants from across the UK whittled down to eight finalists, all of whom have recently completed their Level 3 Fitness Trainer qualification.

The finalists were tested on a range of skills, vital to succeeding in the industry, from a range of hard skills, to taking a session with a pre-existing client, running a GoRow Indoor class with British Rowing, and compiling assessments with new clients.

Gold-medallist Sarah Woodhouse said: “It was an incredibly busy few days competing as one of the eight national finalists in the World Skills UK FitnessTrainer competition at the NEC. The judges certainly kept us on our toes with the various challenges they set us, which we all dived into – all the while being watched on by hundreds of spectators!

“I had such an amazing time doing what I love as well as meeting some fabulous people, having an awesome learning experience not to mention brilliant training sessions from British Rowing and Matrix Fitness.

“It’s such an honour to have come away with the gold medal, I was competing against such high calibre personal trainers I still can’t believe that I managed it – it’s amazing!”

Competition Manager, Christopher Pitts, added: “This year’s WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition proved to be of an incredibly high standard throughout. Our eight finalists did fantastically well to reach this stage and all will have come away with invaluable experiences and knowledge of the industry, as well as making a number of contacts and friends along the way.

“AoC Sport is also hugely grateful to our brilliant sponsors and partners, including Active IQ, Future Fit Training, Matrix and British Rowing.

“We are already looking forward to launching the 2018 competition and seeing what next year’s cohort has to offer.”

As part of this year’s competition, there was also an inclusive skills event in collaboration with Natspec and the Royal National College (RNC).

Anthony Cox from Cardiff and Vale College won the gold medal, with Nathan Bouzidi of RNC in second, while Hereward College’s Dean Donnelly claimed bronze.

It was the first time an inclusive event was part of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition, following a demonstration event at last year’s Skills Show.

Around 100,000 people visited the Skills Show throughout the three days, with competitions across 55 disciplines ranging from butchery, forensic science and floristry, to automotive technology, construction metalwork and plastering all on display.

Anne Milton MP, Minister of Apprenticeships and Skills said: “The Skills Show is absolutely critical for the future of the UK economy. It is fantastic to be here to see all the young people competing in the competitions but also there is a lot of opportunity for young people to come in and meet apprentices and find out what it is about.”