The new Accreditation system is based on two main stages:

Stage 1:
The Training Provider applying for EHFA accreditation needs to be formally recognized in advance by its member state authorities through the EQAVET process. This recognition as a “VET provider” will be focused on the teaching and learning quality assurance, facilities, staff qualification, etc. More information at http://www.eqavet.eu/gns/about-eqavet/network-members/member-states.aspx

Important note: if the Training Provider is applying to EHFA accreditation and is not able to show formal recognition at national level, it can be accredited initially with provisional status for not more than one year. In this period the company will need to fulfil the specific national requirements to be formally recognized as a licenced and nationally approved VET provider. Once the national formal recognition is achieved, the company with will recognized with full status by EHFA.

Stage 2:
When the training provider has been formally recognized by its member state EQAVET requirements, it can then proceed to complete the on-line application form to show the delivery and achievement of the learning outcomes based on the EHFA Standards.

Important note: the application form includes a specific checklist for the assessment of the underpinning knowledge, skills and competencies set by the EHFA Standards. These assessments will include practical assessments in some specific areas.

The practical assessment observation checklists are the recommended assessment tool for the Training Provider staff to use to assess students against. The training organisation may use its own assessment documentation if preferred; however these must align to the minimum competences identified within the practical assessment observation checklists provided by EHFA.

Further information on the EHFA accreditation process

The accreditation process has been developed to provide an independent evaluation of vocational education and training programmes to establish whether they develop competent people to meet or exceed the EHFA Job-purpose Standards which comprise the European Sector Qualification Framework which is fully referenced to the European Qualification Framework (EQF). The main EHFA portal website is www.ehfa.eu

What does the EQF mean for the Fitness Sector?

Raising and developing skills for exercise professionals is more important than ever with new opportunities and responsibilities for the fitness industry to play its part in getting more people, more active, more often. Training organisations must adapt and develop to deliver the skills that the industry and employers want and expect. Importantly, individual exercise professionals want their achievements recognised through an independent process based on accepted European standards and to be registered with the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS www.ereps.eu). If there are common standards and processes then the outcomes can be the same and to be transferable. As a European solution, the EQF is the backbone of this process.

The diverse start point for VET across Europe requires a central referencing point and the EQF with fully referenced EHFA standards provides the answer. All EU member states are adopting the EQF with their implementation in 2010-2012 and are now implementing improvements in the quality of VET through the EQAVET scheme. This will bring about the end of input driven training and learning, and EHFA is leading the European sector by developing its standards in units of learning outcome.

As part of the review and expansion of its standards EHFA is developing its own 8-level sector framework which will be referenced to the EQF. This will make national referencing easier for VET and higher education providers, and better for national government understanding. This will help everyone to better understand the actual occupations in the industry and therefore the training requirements to support these roles.

The fitness industry needs more openness and transparency in the content and processes used for training its workforce. At present there are wide variations so better consistency is required. With a complete sector framework it will be more transparent for the awarding of national recognition of qualifications that are in compliance with pan-European standards.

The reality is already upon us as some member states have already referenced their national frameworks against the EQF. DG EAC (European Commission) sees this as an important principle to help improve the mobility of workers. The fitness industry is already effectively borderless. For workers and learners to move between different countries we need to understand different qualification systems – and the EQF acts as the central “leveller”. With individual exercise professionals having their achievements recognised by EREPS it means that levels of cooperation are become real drivers to raising the skills of works and adding to the professionalism of the sector.