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Two of the UK’s leading sports organisations are joining forces to maintain a register of qualified exercise professionals.

Sports coach UK, a charity that promotes the education of sports coaches, has teamed up with SkillsActive, a careers advisory council, to run the national Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS).

First launched in 2002, the independent register had previously been run by just Skills Active. It regulates health and fitness instructors across the UK.

It allows employers and members of the public to check that exercise instructors meet the National Occupational Standards set by the industry.

Anna Lowe, co-founder of social enterprise Active Together, told Frontline: ‘Physiotherapists and exercise professionals have a shared interest in supporting the national physical activity agenda, both have a huge role to play in encouraging and enabling people to be active whether this is through sport, activity or rehabilitation.

‘Ensuring quality and governance in this sector is essential and safeguarding the future of the Register of Exercise Professionals is a really positive step.

'This is a great opportunity to further align health and fitness sectors with the aim of creating flexible, accessible activity opportunities for everyone.'

Joining the register

CSP members are not automatically eligible to join the register, but physio students, assistants and qualified physiotherapists can be included if they gain a recognised exercise referral and instructor qualification. More details on joining

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SkillsActive REPs Sports Coach UK

Two leading sports organisations have announced a major initiative to create better strategic alignment and clarify the sporting landscape. sports coach UK and SkillsActive have collaborated to run the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), the independent, public register which provides regulation for health and fitness instructors.

REPs was launched in 2002 to provide confidence to employers and the public that instructors and trainers meet the National Occupational Standards set by the industry. As well as protecting the public, the Register enhances the employment prospects of exercise professionals by recognising their skills and qualifications. For employers, it offers an efficient mechanism for verifying qualifications and ensuring the competence of staff, especially in the specialist areas linked to health rehabilitation.

The immediate benefits of this initiative to the 30,000+ registered members of REPs are continued quality of service, protection and the opportunity for further relevant professional development and on-line learning, ensuring they are properly equipped to meet the emerging needs of the government’s new sports strategy.

For the wider sport and activity community, the benefit is that the service is capable of extension to a wider set of registers and users, providing employers and the public with the same confidence that the REPs badge has bestowed on its members since 2002.

Commenting on the initiative, Sport England’s Director of Sport Phil Smith said: "The Government's new strategy for Sport Sporting Future is very clear about the need for the industry to support its professionals at all levels. Sport England has recently consulted widely on what the industry needs to do next, and the call for simplification was loud and consistent. This change is a positive step in that direction and is aiming to make life better for exercise professionals."

Sports coach UK Chair Gillian Wilmot said: “We’re committed to driving the development of coaching across the whole sport and physical activity landscape. Exercise professionals play an important role in motivating people to become active and stay active, whether through sport or physical activity. The whole sporting workforce should be equipped to deal with the challenge of getting everybody active every day.”

SkillsActive Chairman Peter Rowley said: “We recognise this opportunity to benefit employers, professionals and the public in other sectors of sport and wellbeing. There’s great scope for structures like REPs to increase public confidence and engagement, ease employer processes and simplify the professionalisation of sporting skills in line with the new DCMS strategy. Skills Active will focus on playing a full role in the standards for the skills agenda in sport underpinned by initiatives such as the Registers.”

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NHS England announced today the launch of their Diabetes Prevention Programme with the aim of identifying those people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and referring them onto an evidence-based behaviour change programme to help reduce their risk. There is robust evidence that behavioural interventions, which support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Initially up to 20,000 places will be available on the scheme, with the aim of having 100,000 referral places by 2020. There will be a strong emphasis on interventions focused on increasing activity levels amongst those referred onto the scheme, and REPs members will be ideally placed to provide the activity advice and exercise programmes which are a cornerstone of the programme. In particular, those members holding the Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes category will have the specific skills and knowledge to work in this specialist area.

Visit the SkillsActive Quality Training Portal for more details on endorsed courses which will train you to work in this important and exciting area.

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