International Women’s Day: ‘Skills for All’ in the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition

AoC Sport is proud to support the work of the ‘HeForShe’ gender equality campaign, a solidarity movement lead by the United Nations. WorldSkills International has pledged its support to this campaign as has WorldSkills UK, and

AoC Sport as a trusted competition organising partner in skills competition.
Our WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition Manager, Christopher Pitts, talks to past competitors about being a successful female Personal Trainer or Gym Instructor.

Gyms and training environments can often be seen as very masculine environments and the market for gender-separated exercise and fitness classes and spaces is ever growing – not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re a female trainer or instructor trying to make it in a man’s world. Classes in colleges for PT and gym courses can often be male dominated, gyms often have a larger male population and social media is flooded with male fitness models.

So what does it take to be a successful female trainer in this world, what additional challenges do they face and what can we do in the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition to ensure equal opportunities to all regardless of gender?

In the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition finals 2016, of the 12 finalists, half were female and half male. Both winners were female and both are very successful trainers in their own right. I asked a few of our past female competitors what it’s like being a woman in the 21st century fitness industry.

So is the fitness industry really a man’s world? 2015 highly commended competitor Angharad Hayes doesn’t think so.

“If you’re knowledgeable about your trade, work hard to succeed and focus on continually developing then you can gain respect in the field regardless of gender,” she said. “Building a good, solid reputation over your career enables you to train both male and female clients and for them to have faith in you and your work.”

The 2016 Gym Instructor silver medallist, Rosie Rotherham says: “Men seem to think that female instructors have something additional to prove.” She added that she can often face surprised reactions from new male inductees in her workplace, but showing a level of confidence in skills and work ethic and trusting in what you are doing as a trainer is what helps Rosie to establish herself in her industry.

“Grab every opportunity you can to enhance your career, the rest will follow” is some great advice from our past competitors and an attitude we love to see in the competition. We ensure that we demonstrate equality in our competition through a stringent diversity and inclusion policy with WorldSkills UK and our own work in diversification of our competition management and judging team. We show that industry professionals are as varied as the clients they work to help.

We’ll continue to work on demonstrating this inclusion and diversity of the industry, showing that skills and vocational trades are for all.