Cert. no 9701
We are delighted to announce that InstructABILITY, a ground-breaking project developed by YMCAfit and Aspire, the spinal injuries charity, to train disabled people as fitness instructors has won the prestigious national Spark of Innovation award from the Fitness Industry Association at the 2012 FLAME awards.
The award recognises operators who have “achieved something exciting, new and innovative which not only solves an initial problem but has made a profound impact on the industry”. The InstructABILITY programme achieved the accolade as the first project of its kind in the UK. InstructABILITY was launched in 2010 and offers Level 2 fitness instructor training specifically for disabled people, leading to an internationally recognised qualification. Once qualified, students complete a six week work placement in the fitness industry.
To date 28 disabled people have achieved or are working towards a Level 2 fitness instructor qualification and 13 organisations including Virgin Active, GLL and Fusion have taken on InstructABILITY graduates in their facilities. The vast majority of students have undertaken a work placement in the fitness sector contributing to more than 1,300 hours of voluntary service and 1 in 4 of the students have gained employment as a result of the programme.
By training disabled people and changing attitudes the programme is working to encourage greater participation in physical activity from disabled people and also tackling discrimination. Research conducted by Aspire demonstrates the extent of the challenges faced by disabled people seeking employment in the sector:
The InstructABILITY programme has already secured significant recognition. Maria Miller, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions, has stated that the programme “deserves every success and added that she is keen “to see that the achievements already made are recognised and replicated across the country.”
Denise Page, Head of YMCAfit was thrilled at the win: “InstructABILITY is a great example of innovation within the fitness industry and we are delighted that the programme has received further recognition by winning the Spark of Innovation Award. This award builds on the Inspire Mark which was granted to InstructABILITY earlier this year to recognise innovative projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Brian Carlin, Chief Executive of Aspire said: “InstructABILITY was created to get disabled people into employment within the leisure industry and I’m delighted to say that we’ve achieved that from the very beginning – this award is clear recognition of our undoubted success. From the creation of an initial concept, it has been a pleasure to work in partnership with YMCAfit to develop and deliver InstructABILITY. It is an honour to accept the award on behalf of all the students and leisure centres who have participated in the InstructABILITY programme.”
Both YMCAfit and Aspire are looking for health clubs that can provide placement opportunities or organisations that would like to fund further InstructABILITY training. If you are interested please email Hilary Farmiloe or call 07917 822977.