Crisis in the Irish Fitness Sector

The Irish Fitness and wellness industry has steadily grown over the last 20 years as more and more people integrate healthier movement choices into healthier lifestyles. So where is the crisis?

With steady growth globally and data showing Europe as having the biggest fitness market in the world, with a value of €27 billion, this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. So where is the crisis?

In the past decade, a steady flow of new fitness centres, health clubs, boot camps and others have opened across the country. With the diverse options on offer, there is something to suit the needs and wants of every person looking to stay fit and healthy. So where is the crisis?

Karl Hagen manager of a large fitness organisation explains the problem.

“We are expanding at a progressively healthy rate and we strive to provide our members with a range of classes, facilities and personal training options but we can only do this if the fitness instructors we employ can do the job and we are discovering that many can not”.

John Sharkey, director of Ireland longest established training provider, NTC, provides an interesting insight to the issue.

“Uniform standards were introduced several years ago across Europe to help new training providers enter the market. The problem is that the standards agreed are too low. The role of the fitness instructor has been divided up into a number of specialities that students can choose electively (and they have to pay additional fees for each new elective module).

This means that National Training Centre (NTC) is the only training provider in Ireland operating standards above what the standards setting bodies require as a minimum. NTC students pay one fee to get the complete package saving them almost two thousand Euros. When a person graduates from the NTC they posses the all round skills and knowledge that managers and health club owners throughout Ireland (and the world) expect of personal trainers. NTC Personal Trainers are immediately employable and their skills are reflected in their earnings. When you compare an NTC Personal Trainer to an instructor from other providers they earn considerably more. If the club is doing well then the personal trainers will do well and it is a win-win situation for everyone including the members.”

So it seems that not all qualifications are the same. Some people are looking for the shortest, cheapest route to qualification while others want to ensure they get the best qualification with the greatest reputation. The good news is that the best qualification in Ireland may also save you money in the longer term as NTC provide such a full all-round package. It is worth comparing fees now that the reader knows that modules such as “exercise to music” or “group exercise” may be missing from their qualification.

Fidelma Conlon from the NTC says the solution to the crisis is simple,

“We need to get the word out there to potential students and future Personal Trainers ahead of them making that all important decision. To all potential students I want to say that not all qualifications are equal. NTC is the longest established training provider in Ireland and our reputation can be your reputation. Choose NTC”.

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