After going to a spin class yesterday due to the heavy down pours we were experiencing in Melbourne I was surprised at the lack of screening before undertaking the class.
It’s a bit worrying that a person can potentially walk in off the street, be overweight, have high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, a family history of cardiovascular disease, over 40 with pre-existing injuries and hop onto a bike and potentially injure themselves or worse still have a heart attack.
Similarly if you won’t to participate in an adrenaline based sport such as bungy jumping or parachuting, there is a little more screening but far from adequate, if you weight over 95kg or have any concerns the operators recommend that see your Doctor and that you must have average fitness, flexibility and not bepregnant.
Currently the fitness industry is regulated by requiring that a fitness trainer have either a Cert III or CertIV in fitness to satisfy the requirements of applying for public liability and personal indemnity insurance otherwise you are free to start a business as a personal trainer without any restrictions.
This is slowly changing as councils are requiring permits to conduct exercise programs in parks, gardens and reserves which in turn means having insurance.
Fitness qualifications in Australia are regulated by each State’s or Territory’s Training Organisation that gives accreditation for courses and registers RTO or Registered Training Organisations for vocational education and training (VET).
Vocational learning means Tertiary level courses from certificate II to certificate IV, and diploma and advanced diploma.
With most professions, be it a trade such as an electrician or hairdresser, you must complete an apprenticeship while studying part/full time.
To become a hairdresser, you must complete a full time 12 month Certificate III in Hairdressing that usually comprises of attending 7 hours per day from Monday to Thursday and a work experience day on Friday.
So currently a RTO can provide an eight week Certificate course in Fitness, (Cert III and Cert IV) provided that it conforms to the Certification guidelines of the relevant state based Training Organisations.
Upon completion you can conduct unsupervised exercise prescription.
To raise the profile of the fitness industry and the standard of education either the duration of the course needs to be raised to 12 months in conjunction with industry based experience.
Ideally a Diploma in Fitness would raise the depth of knowledge of the fitness professional and remove the entrepreneurial approach currently taken by some RTO’s.
Based on the Australian Government’s Higher educational Guidelines, a Diploma requires 1 or 2 years of full-time study. It is a dual-sector qualification, offered in both the higher education and vocational education and training sectors.
In the higher education sector, Diplomas are based on an academic program with an applied focus, providing general or specialised training for employment at the para-professional level. Diplomas can articulate to Advanced Diploma programs. Diplomas can also provide advanced standing or credit transfer (usually 1 year) into a Bachelor Degree program
While there is a lot of rhetoric about employers needing to employ only those candidates whom possess higher qualifications, then it begs the question why are these courses acceptable by the Government Training Organisations?
If these short courses are deemed deficient and the industry can not confidently rely on them, why haven’t the guidelines been revised?
Surely it is the responsibility of the State based training organisations to address these issues?
While I appreciate that people need to take responsibility for their own actions there is a duty of care by the provider of a fitness based exercise or activity to take responsibility to ensure that the participant passes the necessary medical clearances before undertaking the activity.