In partnership with Leeds City College and the Local Government Association (LGA), the FBU are able to offer A Level equivalent apprenticeships in exercise and fitness to firefighters. Here are some frequently asked questions about the scheme and how to get involved.

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  1. What is it?

The FBU National Learning Centre, in partnership with Leeds City College and the Local Government Association, are offering a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Exercise and Fitness to all English F&RS’s and their employees.
Successful attendance and completion of this course will lead to the learner gaining five qualifications:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
  • Level 3 NVQ diploma in Personal Training
  • Level 2 functional skills Maths
  • Level 2 functional skills English
  • Level 2 Award in Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning

       (Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grades A-C)

  1. Who can apply?   

Age:  19+

Must be in employment and have the opportunity to deliver personal training sessions to genuine clients.

No prior qualifications are required to be eligible for this course.

Application, induction, and enrolment are reserved for candidates who are determined to complete a 15-month course, one day per month, blending classroom, gym days, and sessions with individual coursework. F&RS’s may nominate individuals who they wish to participate, individual FBU members and F&RS employees who can plan and organise to complete the course, utilising their own time or working with their employer may also apply.

  1. Should I contact my employer?

Not all F&RS’s are currently interested in this qualification; a minimum of 15 students per F&RS is required to deliver this course in your local F&RS. If not enough learners apply in your local brigade then enthusiastic students may look at neighbouring F&RS’s and how they are organised to deliver the course and enquire as to attending the days in that F&RS.

The FBU ULF Team and Learning Centre are not responsible for how local F&RS’s decide on candidates, facility time, location or numbers of learners. That is a matter for each one of the 46 F&RS’s.

  1. What’s involved?

This is a big qualification and it is essential you can commit to the 15-month programme (one day per month) with a 100% attendance. The course is delivered in a classroom environment with practical assessments taking place in a gym. 

You will be expected to complete a portfolio of evidence and also sit several exams.  You will be supported fully by the delivery team and will have access to resources (both online and paper based) to make sure you meet the required standard.

The NVQ element requires you to gather work based evidence to support the learning outcomes.  You will also be expected to source your own personal training clients who can be anyone who isn’t on the course.

You will be expected to have a reasonable level of fitness before enrolment, as by definition, a personal trainer will be engaged in elements of physical activity.

  1. What if I am not nominated by my F&RS but am still interested?

At least 15 students per F&RS must commit to the course, if no time is available in your F&RS’s then it becomes a totally voluntary endeavour and therefore, if delivery is to progress, someone in that group must work around classrooms, gyms, shifts and other F&RS programming to ensure attendance and delivery is maintained by all students for the full 15 months.

  1. What if my own F&RS is not signed up?

As previously explained in questions 2, 3 and 5, this will put the onus on potential learners to travel to other F&RS’s on their delivery days (where applicable) or to organise in their own F&RS’s including numbers and partnership with your own F&RS management.

  1. How long will it take me to complete?

Fifteen  months of collective and individual study, assessment and examination.

  1. What if I cannot attend one of the sessions?

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of 100% attendance to successfully complete the framework. However, in exceptional circumstances, there may be an opportunity to join another course to catch up on one day. 

  1. What if my Maths and English are not very good?

Please do not worry about your level of Maths and English. This is a very common concern and one we experience on a regular basis. You will complete a very simple assessment during an enrolment that will indicate the level you are currently working at, this will inform us of any additional support you may need. Our experience of working with various F&RS’s nationally tells us that you will likely already be working at the required level. We provide additional support if it is required. 

  1. What if I fail an exam?

Occasionally, people do fail the exams.  It is not a big issue, we will simply identify any areas that require improvement and add one to one support to make sure you pass when re-sitting.

  1. Why apprenticeships? Are they not for young people?

The government funding initiatives are now heavily focussed on apprenticeships and contrary to popular belief apprenticeships are no longer only for school leavers. This programme utilises government funding to facilitate the delivery of these qualifications. You will receive five stand-alone qualifications but when grouped together they are considered an advanced apprenticeship.
The fact that it is a level 3 programme makes it an ‘advanced’ apprenticeship.

  1. How much support will I get?

The goal of the programme is to develop all students. To achieve this, we have developed an intense programme that we know makes it as easy as possible to reach the required standards. By attending, you get the full support of the delivery team.  You will have access to an online learning portal, paper-based resources, and email/phone contact with tutors when required.
If you have any specific learning need then please let us know and we will make suitable arrangements.

  1. What are the benefits to me personally?

The benefits are many. 

  • You will achieve five qualifications which are nationally recognised.
  • You will improve your basic Maths and English.
  • You will gain knowledge on the delivery of personal training sessions, anatomy and physiology, rehabilitation, diet and nutrition amongst other topics.
  • You will be a fully qualified personal trainer.
  • You will be eligible to register with REPS (the register of exercise training professionals).
  1. When can I enrol?

Currently, Expressions of Interest are being sought by the LGA through circulars to all F&RS’s. The FBU have also sent out circulars to all Brigade Secretaries who have also discussed this opportunity with their F&RS managers. Following this, an advert and information flyer will be uploaded onto the FBU main website and the FBU ULF website where you will be able to register your interest in enrolling on this course. It is expected that enrolments will start from May onwards. Timescales will be explained on enrolment.

Each employer in the F&RS will have different organisational requirements, that is a matter for those individual F&RS’s, neither the FBU Learning Centre nor the FBU ULF Project Team have influence over individual brigade decisions on staffing or attendance.

If you can commit to the qualification utilising your own time and organise one day a month for 15 months, working through additional coursework in between the monthly days, then you should enrol with the intention to complete the course to become a Level 3 qualified Personal Trainer.