Last year FBU education along with our accredited National Learning Centre began working with providers and their team of tutors to offer an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Exercise and Fitness.
The 18 month Level 3 apprenticeship program consists of five individual qualifications and is available to all FBU members along with Fire and Rescue Service employees. It brings together knowledge and competency based qualifications as well as essential Maths and English Functional Skills which are required to perform the role of a personal trainer.
One FBU member who took up the apprenticeship opportunity was Thomas Mortimer, a Training Instructor with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Thomas said he signed up as he has an interest in fitness instruction and the provision of the scheme via the Union made it easily accessible.
Once he started the course Thomas said: “I found the studying challenging but rewarding. The apprenticeship involved exams and coursework which meant the need to set aside time for revision and coursework. The guidance of the tutors made structuring and timetabling this work manageable.”
Thomas isn’t the only firefighter in his region to sign up to the scheme – around a dozen of his colleagues from across North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have also completed the Fitness Instruction Apprenticeship. Many more Firefighters across the UK are also participating.
Thomas said the support from FBU Education has been vital, and very helpful, and he thanked the union for the opportunity to get involved with the scheme.
Thomas said: “The FBU has been involved throughout the process, from initially advertising the scheme and overseeing the sign-up, and constantly monitoring and updating candidates up to the end of the apprenticeship. The FBU has also made us aware of further learning opportunities that are available in future.”
There are many benefits to enrolling on this apprenticeship program, as Thomas points out: “This programme has given me a broad range of new skills and knowledge regarding fitness instruction that will be of huge benefit in my workplace, personal interests out of work, where I coach and play rugby, and also offers massive opportunities should I seek a change of career and move to work in the fitness industry.”
Thomas has nearly finished his apprenticeship and just needs to complete the learning module regarding nutrition to finish up.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been supportive of the program by providing gyms and classrooms where the program could take place. Unfortunately though they have not been able provided any time off to study - given the nature of the job and its shift patterns - and this has required a fair amount of time management.