WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: A judge’s view

The regional rounds of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition got underway this week, with the first of five heats taking place. Judge Paul Swainson – Head of School for Personal Training at Future Fit Training – blogs about his experience at Loughborough College.


With more entries than ever before, the 2016 WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition is set to be the largest to date. The first stage online tests and video showcases were submitted for this year’s competition in April, and following marking, 60 Gym Instructors and 40 Personal Trainers were invited to compete at a regional heat.

I had the pleasure of judging at the first of these at Loughborough College on Wednesday 4 May. It was a long day, beginning with a 7.30am tour of the fantastic college facilities – “it’s Loughborough, we do sport well!” said Mark Thorpe, Exercise and Fitness Lecturer.

Next up was marking of competitor portfolios and standardisation to make sure judgements were being made fairly and consistently. Two judges then observed each competitor delivering either a gym induction or a personal training session, depending on the category entered. This is chance for them to showcase their skills and demonstrate how they can stand out from the crowd.

In the PT category I was judging, competitors were provided with a hall or studio space featuring limited equipment such as dumbbells, a bench and a mat. They then had a 40 minute session to take their client through a training session.

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I was particularly impressed with a bold move from Lyndsey Williams from Preston’s College, who chose to work with client who is deaf. It was fascinating to watch her communicate with and coach her client and was in many ways the ultimate demonstration of the importance of ‘softer’ skills for PTs.

Once all competitors had been observed, there was more standardisation (fuelled by some much needed snacks provided by AoC Sport – thanks guys!), before first, second and third places in each category were confirmed. It was great to then see the successful competitors announced and their certificates given out.

The final part of the day saw us giving feedback to each competitor to help them improve in future, whether that’s the next stage of the competition or their career in the industry, and it was great to see the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn which is absolutely vital if you want to reach the top of your game.

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Next up for me is another regional heat at Tyne Met College on 18 May, where it’ll be interesting to see what the competitors can do now the bar has been set.