WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: The judges’ view

With just ten days to go until the finalists compete in the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition, Karen Stanton our Head Judge, talks with the four-strong team of Competition Judges, who have once again kindly offered their time and professional input so vital to the success of the competition.

AA Judges

First of all please allow me to introduce and welcome our fantastic team:

Clare Everest – MD of Everest Fitness Education

Paul Swainson – Head of School of PT at Future Fit Training

Eileen Baron – Independent Fitness Education Consultant

Sam Kenny – Course Co-ordinator for Academic Sport Studies at Cornwall College

We’re dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s on the final details for the culmination of the 2016 WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition – with this event bigger than ever and new for us all as the inaugural launch for Fitness Training at the Skills Show.

When we invited applications to judge over a year ago, none of us knew exactly how significant the WorldSkills UK involvement would be. So tell me what was it that made you want to judge with the team in 2016?

Paul: At Future Fit, our key driver is raising standards of personal training through better education. So being involved with judging was a natural fit for me. I was keen to see what skills the competitors brought to the table, and how they raised their game as they progressed through each stage. Coming from a commercial training provider, I was also interested to see the standard of trainer that college training courses produce.

Clare: Having been part of the judging team since it started in 2013, I feel privileged to be part of a competition that celebrates the very best our industry has to offer. I thoroughly enjoy watching competitors progress, their skills developing and confidence growing at each stage. Professionally it is a wonderful opportunity to network with other training providers, judges and fitness organisations, whilst being part of a professional and well respected competition.

The Skills Show event will provide the opportunity to showcase our industry to more than 100,000 visitors. This is a major opportunity to attract newcomers and potentially tempt those who do not currently exercise to try something new – with that in mind, what do you think about the standard of competitor you’ve seen so far? 

Eileen: I’ve been very impressed at the standard of competitors and the wide spectrum of different skills and individual qualities that have been brought to the table. It is also great to know that there are so many passionate tutors out there behind the scenes; sharing their skills and knowledge and, supporting students.

Sam: Having judged at two regional heats and the semi-finals, I have been staggered by the quality of trainers that I have seen. The enthusiasm and effort that the competitors have demonstrated throughout the process has filled me with confidence that the standard of fitness trainers graduating from providers around the country is exceptionally high.

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I fully share these views. We’ve seen so many examples of excellent practice and interesting approaches. I am particularly excited that we’ll be judging some new unit tasks at the Skills Show which should really provide competitors with a chance to shine. 

I’m sure you’ll all agree that the competition event days are unbelievably busy for judges often with significant travel, ridiculously early starts and a quick bite to eat all too often the only ‘down-time’ that you have. This hard work is always greatly valued by AoC Sport and competitors alike but – have there been any personal or professional benefits to being involved?  

Eileen: I have benefited greatly from the networking and opportunity to work with so many highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals. It has been very rewarding to work with people who are all passionate and have a common love and goal e.g. standards in the fitness industry.

Sam: Being part of the competition has enabled me to meet professionals from a range of different providers from around the country. Travelling to different colleges and experiencing their facilities, meeting their staff and learners has been an extremely valuable experience for me. Throughout the judging process I have been required to hone my understanding of the criteria and I feel this has aided my assessment skills when delivering courses at my college.

That is great to hear. The breadth of the competition team is very far-reaching now with a fantastic rapport between us; having a clear common objective purely focussing on standards, we work extremely effectively across training providers and stakeholder groups. So summing up then – what are you most looking forward to when judging at the finals?

Paul: Being held over two days, the final is a real test and we’ll get a comprehensive insight into the abilities of each competitor. The venue, crowd, atmosphere and challenging tasks will be a big step up from initial stages and I’m looking forward to seeing how the competitors deal with it all.

Clare: I expect the atmosphere to be electric and it’s such an exciting opportunity to find our very best Gym Instructors and Personal Trainers and to showcase what we can really do!

Thank you all for your feedback and comments. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Skills Show!

MORE: Meet the judges in our YouTube video

MORE: Meet the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition finalists