Since the launch of FITREC in 2015, we’ve shone a light on many questionable elements of our industry that we’ve all, at some point, taken for granted. One such topic is that of ongoing education (specifically, FITREC’s move away from the points accumulation model). Here’s a recap on why we felt the expiry date had arrived on those traditional CEC/PDP business models.
Before the internet (including mobile phones, social media and websites), it was impossible to fact-check the amount of information that we process so easily today. For this reason, fitness registration provided us with the ability to source learning opportunities as well as be assured that our money was well spent. This led to the rise of course accreditation.
To ensure that professionals did not lose touch with a rapidly developing industry (remember, the knowledge of the world was not in your pocket back then), course accreditation was converted into points that professionals could then accumulate to enable re-registration. Such points accumulation models, like CECs and PDPs, have since become the norm. They are not a legal requirement, simply a rule created for specific business models.
In the absence of available information (i.e., before the internet), registration services allowed us to make assumptions about registered professionals and their learning. But now that the information we need is readily available, continuing to make these assumptions seems to be an unnecessary and unacceptable risk.
What is not widely known, for example, is that back in the day some registration bodies only ever committed to auditing just 10 per cent of their registered professionals, every two years! Effectively, this meant that employers could only ever be certain that 10 per cent of their registered staff have actually completed the education they assume has taken place.
At the very least, accepting assumptions about professionals and their learning, fails to encourage transparency and accountability. Without this openness to scrutiny, we’ll struggle, as an industry, to gain and maintain respect from the general public and allied health industries.
We understand that experience and education required of professionals varies considerably, often depending on the job that they’re doing. The transparency FITREC provides, answers the question as to what learning is taking place, more clearly.
Before the internet, we were influenced largely by those within our geographic area. Naturally, we all had heroes, subscribed to magazines and joined clubs, but our day-to-day narrative was informed more by those around us than the occasional inspiration our heroes might provide.
One of the great benefits of the internet is that we are all more directly influenced by leaders in all areas that we’ve never met! This could be via social media, podcasts, newsletters and/or YouTube channels.
From a professional perspective, the world is at our fingertips. Whatever it is that you find most interesting or relevant to your fitness work, there will always be multiple feeds from multiple people who can help you better understand your clients and improve your services.
When it comes to staff retention, there’s no benefit to adding unnecessary financial hurdles to valued team members. And that’s what we’re doing with forced points accumulation. For new professionals that might be struggling to get a foothold, it only increases the likelihood of throwing in the towel. Similarly, many experienced professionals that have left the industry (to raise families, travel, etc.) have been discouraged from returning to the industry because of the onerous cost of meeting traditional re-registration requirements.
The pursuit of the points, generally as many as possible for the least money, rather than learning content, has long been a known issue. We also see professionals turning their back on potentially valuable learning opportunities, both local and international, because the re-registration points are not included.
There is also the risk that, as everything continues to be pushed through the same CEC/PDP accreditation filter, we’ll lose the diversity and development that is so essential to industry progression.
They were all very useful in their time. They’re still around, although their reason for being is less obvious. Inevitably, there is a chance that one day, we’ll wonder why we persevered with them for as long as we did.