WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: Thoughts from Head Judge Karen Stanton

The regional rounds of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition are now in full swing, with two of the five heats having now taken place. Head Judge Karen Stanton blogs about her experience at Exeter College.


So here we are back to Friday and we’re already nearly at the middle of the month – one of the busiest in the year for the Fitness Trainer Competition 2016. The first of the regional heats took place at Loughborough College and what a great event is was, captured by Paul Swainson.

After such a great day there is no doubt that it was always going to be a hard act to follow. But it has to be said that through hosting the second event held on Monday 9 May; Exeter College stepped fully up to the mark, with fantastic facilities, careful arrangements and a very warm welcome for competitors, judges and sponsors alike who had travelled from far and wide.

In order to maximise the number of competitors the judging team can see, regional heat days are long with an early start.  I cannot imagine what time some of the journeys to the venue must have begun to be signing in at 8am, but a total of 12 competitors from four colleges arrived bright and early and with plenty of smiles in the room too!  The commitment to demonstrating excellence and taking part in the competition really hits home when you see everyone arrive and you consider their journey to get there.


After the venue tours and briefing, the event kicked off and the judges concluded their assessments of the written plans – which are a session plan for the Gym Instructor competition and consultation document and plan for Personal Trainer competition.

The first outstanding work to mention was seen here, with the PT submission from Thomas Gallivan of Coleg Gwent.   The level of detail and evidence of many, many hours of work to provide clients with as much help as possible show Thomas to be an absolutely committed and caring PT; his future clients will be very lucky to benefit from such detail and effort.

With the first competitors getting started on the practical sessions just after 9am, the judges were treated to many approaches to the tasks in both the Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer events.  We had great use of the sports hall space within the Personal Trainer competition, demonstrated by Harry Saunders-Irish from Exeter College, and were delighted to see the diverse approach of a Zumba inspired session from Miyazim Ibryamov from Coleg Gwent.  The gym positively ‘lit up’ with the arrival of Rosie Rotheram – precise, knowledgeable and a personality to fill the room, impressing the judges.

The day passed very quickly and after their ‘slot’, competitors were able to complete some work in a dedicated area provided by Exeter College, or have a snack and relax in the break-out area.  We were also delighted to be joined by James Clack from our Personal Trainer competition sponsor Active IQ – the coach of a previous competition winner and a judge during the early years of the competition – I wonder if anyone tapped him up for some ‘tips’?!


As the day concluded, the work for the judging team got busier as the scores were collated and standardisation completed.  It was a really close run thing with scores within one or two marks of each other.  Three recounts confirmed the final scores and we got there in the end – phew.

Congratulations should be extended to all the competitors on the day with a special mention for Rosie Rotheram (Truro & Penwith College) and Harry Saunders-Irish (Exeter College) – the highest scorers in the Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer competitions respectively.

So…onto next week.  Christopher Pitts, Competition Manager, and I are on a UK tour –  Basingstoke to Newcastle and finally to Glasgow which will conclude the regional heats for 2016. Looking forward to updating you again with how it all goes!