What Do Landlines, DVDs and CECs Have in Common?

Since the launch of FITREC, we’ve shone a light on many questionable elements of our industry that we’ve all, at some point, taken for granted. Following recent questions on the topic of ongoing learning (specifically, FITREC’s move away from the points accumulation model) I thought it worth shining a light on the traditional CEC/PDP business models and why we feel its time has passed.

There was a time, before the internet…

Before the internet (inc. mobile phones, social media and websites), it was impossible to fact check the amount of information that we process so easily today.

For this reason, fitness registration provided us with the ability to source learning opportunities as well as be assured that our money was well spent. This lead to the rise of course accreditation.

To ensure that professionals did not lose touch with a rapidly developing industry (remember, the knowledge of the world was not in your pocket), course accreditation was converted into points that professionals could then accumulate to enable re-registration.

These points accumulation models, like CEC and PDP, have since become the norm. They are not a legal requirement, simply a rule created for specific business models.

But that was then. This is now.

In the absence of available information (before the internet), registration services allowed us to make assumptions about registered professionals and their learning.

Now that the information we need is readily available, continuing to make these assumptions seems to be an unnecessary and unacceptable risk.

What is not widely known, for example, is that Fitness Australia only commits to auditing 10% of their registered professionals every two years [1]. This effectively means that employers can only be certain that 10% of registered staff have actually completed the education they assume has taken place.

In the very least, accepting assumptions about professionals and their learning, fails to encourage transparency and accountability. Without this openness to scrutiny, we’ll struggle, as an industry, to gain and maintain respect from the general public and allied health industries.

FITREC has deliberately avoided being a judge of professional development. We understand that experience and education required of professionals varies considerably depending on the job that they’re doing. The transparency FITREC provides more clearly answers the question as to what learning is taking place.

Our circle of influence is so much greater.

Before the internet, we were influenced largely by those within our geographic area. Naturally, we all had heroes, subscribed to magazines and joined clubs, but our day to day narrative was informed more by those around us than the occasional inspiration our heroes might provide.

One of the great benefits of the internet is that we are all more directly influenced by leaders in all areas that we’ve never met! This could be via social media, podcasts, newsletters and/or YouTube channels.

From a professional perspective, the world is at our fingertips. Whatever it is that you find most interesting or relevant to your fitness work, there will always be multiple feeds from multiple people that can help you better understand your clients and improve your services.

Staffing in fitness is an ongoing issue, let’s not make it harder.

When it comes to staff retention, there’s no benefit to adding unnecessary financial hurdles to valued team members. And that’s what we’re doing with forced points accumulation. For new professionals that might be struggling to get a foothold, it only increases the likelihood of throwing in the towel. Similarly, many experienced professionals that have left the industry (to raise families, travel, etc.) have been discouraged from returning to the industry because of the onerous cost of meeting traditional re-registration requirements.

CECs/PDPs have become a handbrake on industry progression.

The pursuit of the points, generally as many as possible for the least money, rather than learning content, is a known issue. We also see professionals turning their back on potentially valuable learning opportunities, both local and international, because the re-registration points are not there.

There is also the risk that, as everything continues to be pushed through the same CEC/PDP accreditation filter, we’ll lose the diversity and development that is so essential to industry progression.

So what do landlines, DVDs and CECs have in common?

They were all very useful in their time. They’re still around, although their reason for being is less obvious. Inevitably, we’ll wonder why we persevered with them for as long as we did.


[1] From the Fitness Australia website – Audit Policy for AusREPs