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We need stability, consistency and continuity, as workforce development organisations navigate their way through the education reforms

We need stability, consistency and continuity, as workforce development organisations navigate their way through the education reforms

Posted on: 26 June 2017

By Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ

Now that the dust has settled in the aftermath of the recent General Election, we watch and wait with interest to see how the new Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills adjusts to her new role, following the departure of Robert Halfon.

This ministerial change comes in the midst of significant education reform, including the recent implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy, the transition from Apprenticeship Frameworks to Apprenticeship Standards and the launch of the Post-16 Skills Plan. 

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General Election 2017 - assessment and next steps

General Election 2017 - assessment and next steps

Posted on: 12 June 2017 by Huw Edwards Email: Huw Edwards

There’s a chance that there may be a repeat of this commentary at some point, so I apologise now. The full outcome of the June 8th General Election is still being understood, with the impact of no party achieving an overall majority – delivering a hung parliament – still being digested. But many commentators already feel that a second election within the next few months is a genuine possibility, and one within the next 12/18 months almost inevitable.  Almost all of us (with the exception of the political junkies) would unleash a primal scream if we were faced with another vote in the near future.  The consensus would no doubt be that it would be great to have a period of government, and for our elected representatives to start addressing some of the significant economic and social issues facing the UK.

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To be truly inclusive our sector must do more to embrace disabled people

To be truly inclusive our sector must do more to embrace disabled people

Posted on: 12 June 2017 by Jade Hall Email: Jade Hall

There are over 10 million disabled people in England, accounting for 18 per cent of the population. Yet, disabled people can face a vast number of psychological, logistical and physical barriers to getting physically active.

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Want to get children moving? Let them take the lead

Want to get children moving? Let them take the lead

Posted on: 08 June 2017 by Luke Holland Email: Luke Holland

Kids aren’t moving enough. Britain’s children today are the most inactive generation ever, where the fittest child in a class today would be among the least fit twenty years ago. The health risks of childhood inactivity are well documented and oft-repeated – I’ve counted seven articles in the past week alone – yet things seem to trundle on the same.

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Promoting positive mental health – getting a-‘head’ of the game

Promoting positive mental health – getting a-‘head’ of the game

Posted on: 08 June 2017 by Ade Lawal Email: Ade Lawal LinkedIn

From an early age, I was always told the many benefits of protecting the mind. Thinking about it now, I can hear the incessant echo of the phrase ‘there’s a thin line between sanity and insanity’ in the back of my head. I was always told to speak up, say what was on my mind and not develop a habit of keeping things bottled up, as doing so has harrowing repercussions. Whatever the issue was, it was ok to say.

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Keeping data secure should become a priority for the physical activity sector

Keeping data secure should become a priority for the physical activity sector

Posted on: 05 June 2017 by Geremy Sagoe Email: Geremy Sagoe

Barely a month goes by without the news of a data breach affecting governments, businesses or individuals - with once alien terms like ‘malware’, ‘phishing’ and ‘ransomware’ increasingly entering the public consciousness. Data insecurity is a major threat to all of us – from the recent NHS hacking scandal that saw thousands of operations and appointments cancelled to major data breaches of big-name companies.  Both telecoms giant TalkTalk and pay day loans stalwart Wonga paid the price with damage to their share prices and reputation. Across industries and sectors – agility and forward planning are important in keeping your data secure and your customers confident. The physical activity sector, like many others, must ensure it is on the front foot in this colossal battle.

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The Change Game

The Change Game

Posted on: 02 June 2017 by Jak Phillips

It’s seven months since I first cracked open the books to begin studying for my Level 3 personal trainer qualification with Future Fit Training and I’m gaining a greater appreciation for Christopher Hitchens’ genius by the day.

“The measure of a good education is that you acquire some idea of the extent of your ignorance,” the legendary contrarian once quipped, and I’m finding him to be proved more correct with every passing module.

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It is of paramount importance that the system ensures chances to deliver the “asks” of the employers they seek to serve

It is of paramount importance that the system ensures chances to deliver the “asks” of the employers they seek to serve

Posted on: 24 May 2017

The Institute for Apprenticeships (the IfA) has announced the chairs of its 15 route panels. They include figures from industry and education, and are designed to lead the development of standards of knowledge, skills and behaviours needed by employers for every occupation in England. For Active IQ, the chairs for “Health and Science” – Kirk Lower (Health Education England) and “Childcare and Education” – Sir Nick Weller (executive principal, Dixons City Academy, Bradford) are of particular significance.

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Keeping on top of your business finances – accounting dates to remember

Posted on: 03 May 2017

By KPMG Small Business Accounting

As a gym or leisure club owner, keeping your business above water means retaining a firm hold on your finances. Despite all the other things you may have to think about - staff recruitment, equipment, member retention and supplier management to name a few - there are also a number accounting requirements and dates you must be aware of.

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Further clarification on the Apprenticeship Levy is required for sector employers navigating the new system

Further clarification on the Apprenticeship Levy is required for sector employers navigating the new system

Posted on: 27 April 2017

By Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ

The Apprenticeship Levy is now up and running!  It came into effect on April 6th and therefore any business with a pay bill of £3 million or more is required to spend 0.5% of their total pay bill on apprenticeship training moving forwards.  

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Head of ukactive Kids Jack Shakespeare speaks about battling childhood physical inactivity

Posted on: 21 April 2017

Head of ukactive Kids Jack Shakespeare addresses the physical inactivity crisis facing children today, amid figures showing that they are the least active generation ever. 

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Jonathan MacDonald warns physical activity firms about the need to embrace change

Posted on: 24 March 2017

ActiveLab Live! Keynote speaker Jonathan MacDonald gave his thoughts on innovation in the physical activity sector. Jonathan sets out the biggest threat to fitness operators facing what he calls the ‘three primary risks of inaction’, in a rapidly changing world.

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Our job is to collectively shape the Post-16 Skills Plan and ensure our sector gets the recognition it deserves

Our job is to collectively shape the Post-16 Skills Plan and ensure our sector gets the recognition it deserves

Posted on: 23 March 2017

By Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ

I was delighted to be asked to chair the morning panel at the CIMSPA conference last week, to discuss ‘the positive pay-off from investing in staff skills and training’.  Firstly, having been previously involved in the development of individuals in the training sector, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that education can have on people’s lives, in relation to the development of knowledge, skills and behaviours and subsequently on future performance.  Then, from an awarding organisation perspective, I’ve seen how individuals can follow clear professional development pathways, by undertaking relevant training and/or qualifications to climb the career ladders that exist within out sector.  And as an employer, I’ve seen the impact that training and development can have on outcomes – in relation to all areas of the business including sales, customer service, quality assurance and management. 

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Video: ActiveLab Live! Panellist Tom Halls talks about the gamification of physical activity

Posted on: 21 March 2017

Video: Tom Halls from NRG E-Sports tells us how gamification can revolutionise the way we move and provide an extra motivator for people to get active, by making physical activity a more attractive proposition.

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Video: Baroness Grey-Thompson calls for an overhaul of English town planning laws

Posted on: 08 March 2017

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson spoke last week at Sweat, ukactive’s boutique fitness event, calling for an urgent rethink of England’s “archaic” town planning laws.

The ukactive Chair and cross-bench peer wants to see a major overhaul of planning regulations to make it easier for fitness businesses to have a positive health impact on England’s unhealthy high streets, which she said are “drowning in a sea of betting shops, fried chicken joints and empty shop windows.”

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Progress and momentum has been made toward CIMSPA’s ‘single set of standards,’ although there is still work to do

Progress and momentum has been made toward CIMSPA’s ‘single set of standards,’ although there is still work to do

Posted on: 20 February 2017

By Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ

The Sporting Future Annual Report highlights the extensive work carried out by CIMSPA in its progress to develop a single set of standards for all sport and exercise professionals and “a single system of assessing, awarding and validating qualifications”.  At Active IQ, we read this statement with interest, in the knowledge that Active IQ (and other awarding organisations) is regulated by Ofqual in England, Qualifications Wales in Wales, CCEA in Northern Ireland and also potentially moving forwards by SQA in Scotland.  

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Future Fit helps ukactive team see personal training in a whole new light

Future Fit helps ukactive team see personal training in a whole new light

Posted on: 16 February 2017

Future Fit Training has been putting ukactive through its personal training paces as three of the team are studying the Level 3 PT Diploma. Apart from gaining new skills and knowledge, the three trainees – Steven Ward, Geraldine Tuck and Jak Phillips – have really had their eyes opened and gained a whole new appreciation for the work undertaken by the UK’s personal trainers.

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It’s the Year of the Rooster as Water Babies makes a big splash, exporting baby swimming to China!

It’s the Year of the Rooster as Water Babies makes a big splash, exporting baby swimming to China!

Posted on: 03 February 2017

By Steve Franks – Group Managing Director, Water Babies

Firstly Xin Nian Kuai Le – or Happy New year!

And what a year it’s been for us all here at Water Babies! When you think of baby swimming, few may realise that this is fast becoming a booming industry and major UK export – most recently to China! There is already one franchisee operating successfully in Xian in Western China, home of the famous Terracotta Warriors. However, the plans of our Chinese Master franchisor are ambitious, but also awe-inspiring! Managing Director, Kevin Zhang says: “There is a huge appetite in China for families to embark on this unique journey, on helping their babies to learn how to swim. Most importantly parents will be helping their babies and toddlers to learn a life-saving skill. And just like here in the UK, our classes will give thousands the chance to develop their babies, physically and mentally; mums and dads will also be able to enjoy some special bonding time with their children along the way.”

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Education is key to a safe and active Britain

Education is key to a safe and active Britain

Posted on: 02 February 2017

By Huw Edwards, ukactive Public Affairs Director

At ukactive our central mission is simple: getting more people, more active, more often. There’s a simple reason for that; regular physical activity is nothing less than a silver bullet in battling the health challenges Britain faces. Our work therefore surrounds championing physical activity whenever we can, and encouraging as many people as possible to get active.

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Rise to the challenge

Rise to the challenge

Posted on: 01 February 2017

By Dean Horridge, CEO of Fit For Sport

The state of our children’s health has never been worse. The threat to their future has never been greater. In some areas of the UK, as many as 40% of primary school children are overweight or obese. One in five children do NO physical activity at school.  Our young generation is at risk of dying at a younger age than their parents.

That is simply not acceptable.

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