EMD UK CEO Gill Cummings-Bell BA (Hon’s). M.Sc. PGCE. MBA. AMCSP
Gill explains what is coming over the horizon and how EMD UK’s new membership categories and resource centre can support the group exercise instructor workforce. This will help the group exercise instructor meet the demands of the ‘Workforce Governance & Registration Scheme’ when it lands.
What is it?
CIMSPA report that:
Following the 2017 Duty of Care report and strategies including Towards an Active Nation and Uniting the Movement, CIMSPA has been working with Sport England, UK Sport and other organisations to explore a sector-wide approach to Workforce Governance.
This work has the objective of supporting, safeguarding, and regulating the workforce to allow everyone taking part in sport and physical activity to enjoy safe and high-quality experiences, and to be supported in achieving their goals in a positive environment.
Workforce Governance: Phase 1 & 2
Phase 1 investigated the current state of play and the appetite of the sector for a project of this kind. A summary of the findings and recommendations can be found here.
Phase 2 saw research and engagement with stakeholders across the sector to gain a deeper understanding of how organisations are currently supporting the workforce and mitigating workforce related risks. It also examined the role and existing methods of workforce regulation and registration, and appraised best practice from other sectors and countries. Phase 2 was completed in 2022 and an executive summary can be found here.
Whyte Review Policy Response
In January 2023, in response to the Whyte Review into allegations of abuse in gymnastics (and in the context of other reports and studies into abuse and harm caused within sport), Sport England and UK Sport issued a joint policy response.
In total, the response included 19 commitments that spanned the areas of coaching and workforce support, performance athlete support, good governance, dispute resolution and creating safer environments for participants.
One of these commitments was for Sport England and UK Sport to work in partnership with CIMSPA and the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) to develop a national workforce registration scheme for coaches, to include their qualifications and suitability for work in specific roles (CIMSPA 2023).
What comes next?
The next phase of the project, led by CIMSPA, will include the development and piloting of a national workforce registration scheme for all sports and physical activity. How will EMD UK support you as a group exercise instructor? EMD UK encourages all group exercise instructors to join their NGB as a member so that EMD UK, can consult with members as this project develops and members can be part of the NGB influencing the development of the NGB support systems so that it best meets your needs. As the project develops with the NGBs, CIMSPA and partners as above, EMD UK will ensure that instructor needs are met where possible with as little additional burden and cost. Supporting resources to meet the governance and registration scheme will be available to EMD UK members through the professional registration level of membership (Pro) where additional resources will be added and members will be able to access them within their membership cost. (See end article for membership levels)
The governance and coaching registration scheme is part of a new ‘Coaching Operating System’ for the coaching/instructing workforce in England, for the sport and physical activity sector. It will be a complex piece of work that involves, NGBs, Active Partnerships, employers, coaches/instructors, participants and many other stakeholders in the sector.
The project is part of Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy, a 10-year commitment to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. , and the subsequent ‘Uniting A Coaching Movement – A blueprint for Coaching in England’ which is a movement to recognise all sport and physical activity coaches/instructors as valued and trusted members of the workforce. The coaching registration scheme is only one part of this strategy, there are many more parts which are out of the scope of this article. The key focus being: (Sport England 2023)
The strategy recognises that there is a need for a professionalised, diverse, and inclusive workforce that keeps its coaches/instructors and participants safe. It also recognises that the workforce is highly valued, that the sector creates a high-quality experience for all who take part in or want to take part in any sport or physical. The strategy also recognises that the burden on the workforce is high, and coaches/instructors may often experience frustration, be overstretched, and sometimes overwhelmed at the amount of time they already need to commit to activities and tasks outside of the act of coaching/instructing itself and that the current resources available to them do not support them sufficiently (Sport England 2023).
These are genuine concerns that all instructors and EMD UK share. EMD UK know the current resources available to the group exercise instructor workforce are insufficient to meet the growing demands of the role across the UK already and that any new governance and registration compliance scheme will add to this burden.
As the coaching operating system develops and the governance and registration scheme is piloted in England, these demands may grow to include non-coaching specific responsibilities, such as risk management, first aid, advanced safeguarding as well as the current burden on the workforce to gain the already recognised professional qualifications and undertake continuous CPD. On top of this it is estimated that the workforce can spend over 38% of their time administering and preparing for their sessions and classes. These are all areas that burden instructors, create friction and appear to disproportionately sit as the responsibility of the coaching/instructor workforce. It is important that as the coaching operating system develops we don’t tip the scales of support in the wrong direction.
EMD UK is committed to supporting all group exercise instructors in the workforce as a system partner of Sport England and the governing body of group exercise. EMD UK are funded by Sport England to support the group exercise workforce in England as EMD UK’s clearly defined workforce. This includes any group exercise teacher who teaches any discipline be that Yoga, Pilates, Circuits, ETM, Body Conditioning, Outdoor Bootcamps, Aqua and so on.
Whilst the project and coaching operating system applies to England, EMD UK’s broader UK wide role will ensure that our resources will also be available to all the workforce in the home nations as well as England through our wider work. EMD UK are committed to supporting all group exercise teachers across the UK. Everyone will benefit from the development of our new membership categories and hundreds of free resources on our new digital platform.
The biggest change for group exercise instructors when the new coaching operating system is fully developed will be a regulated, compliance based, workforce registration and regulation scheme (discussed above) which will include workforce governance (i.e a license to practice, although other names may be used). EMD UK are currently developing integrated planning to support the group exercise instructor workforce in meeting all of these new demands. This includes new membership categories where our workforce can access resources free of charge.
(Diagram Sport England 2023)
The next two years will be challenging as this new coaching operating system is developed, consulted on and emerges. As indicated via the diagram above, CIMSPA, in partnership with other bodies, will lead on the ‘hardware’ element of the operating system. However, it will be the NGBs responsibility to work with their own workforces to support CIMSPA in the delivery of the operating system, ensuring it is best placed to meet the new demands. It is important to be a member of EMD UK who are your governing body and a Sport England funded system partner mandated to support you and work on your behalf. I am sure you have heard the line ‘you need to be in it to win it’. You must be part of the movement so that you can communicate your needs as this develops and we can enable you to meet the requirements easily and support you to do so.
(Diagram Sport England 2023)
What exactly will the operating system include?
The honest truth is we don’t know. CIMSPA will be administering and supporting between 7-9 pilots with governing bodies over the next two years to establish outcomes for the operating system. What we can tell you is that EMD UK will keep you informed all the way and EMD UK will work to make resources available to the workforce to meet the demands.
At the moment we have more questions than answers so why talk about it now? All Good questions?
So why are we talking about it now? The main reason is so that we can consult with YOU the workforce as this develops, so you can have your say. Your say can make sure that any part of the scheme meets the needs of you the group exercise instructor and not be in an end place where the burden of compliance isn’t appropriate for your needs. We can also ensure that resources are built for you that enable you to meet it as this develops. EMD UK can support by building those resources for you without the huge burden of additional cost. Our funding is in fact your funding. We work for, and on behalf of the group exercise instructor workforce. We are the only organisation who do. We will support you to get ready. That is our commitment and is our number 1 priority.
What we do know is this …
It will involve governance and a national registration scheme that goes across all sports and physical activity, which for want of better words will become a ‘license to practice’ in which we will all have to be compliant.
How will EMD UK’s New Membership Support the Growing Demands
It is important that the workforce become members of the governing body for group exercise as this develops so that you can easily meet the requirements of the new registration scheme. To enable that, EMD UK have introduced new levels of membership and a new resource centre to support you in compliance for registration and detail your licence to practice.
Membership level 1 = Free engagement level membership
So that we can engage with you, keep you informed and support you with a whole host of resources to do your highly valued work we have introduced this new membership. Yes, it is free! Yes, it will remain free! and anyone can join. You will have access to a new resource centre which has support resources for work as well as resources from industry leaders who know and understand your field of work. You will also receive discounts and information from our delivery partners.
Membership level 2 – Professional membership = £25
This is the pro-membership level where you will be able to access all the resources from the free membership and additional resources to support your coaching registration. This will include:
- Full safeguarding qualifications so that you can meet this requirement easily and without additional cost.
- Business, marketing, and sales instructor support module resources to help you achieve success in the workplace.
- This Girl Can Classes CIMSPA endorsed CPD training so you can access the benefits of the flagship This Girl Can Activation Programme.
This level will enable your compliance on the licence to practice register as it develops. You will also be able to access many discounts from our delivery partners and PPL, funding opportunities and bursaries to help you meet costs. If you want to join at this level and need financial support to do so, we can also help. Just ask.
Membership level 3 Prof Insured = From £49
On this level you will access all of the resources from the two levels above including the qualifications to help you meet the new coaching registration compliance as well as your public liability and professional indemnity insurance. You will also be able to access further higher-level discounts from our delivery partners and PPL.
The question moving forward isn’t whether you should join EMD UK but why would you not join EMD UK armed with the information above. Just remember this is your funding and we work for you.
Where do we go from here?
It is clear that there are some challenging developments ahead for our sector. We don’t yet have the answer’s to a lot of the questions and for the most we don’t even know what the questions might be. What we do know is that our commitment as the NGB for group exercise will be to keep you all informed and consult with our members, the wider workforce and sector as we work towards a greater valued workforce, a working environment for sport and physical activity that is inclusive, embraces all, is safe and creates great experiences for everyone. Watch this space!