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FITREC expresses concern about Fitness Australia’s ‘Service Excellence Program’
Fitness registration body FITREC has responded to Fitness Australia’s launch of its ‘Quality Assurance Employment’, saying “professionals and employers have every right to be concerned” about the initiative.
With the privately-owned FITREC and not-for-profit Fitness Australia competing in offering registration services for fitness professionals, Fitness Australia last week launched its ‘Quality Assurance Employment’ initiative, described as “being a first step towards closer alignment with allied health”, offering free transferable membership from other organisations.
Questioning this move, FITREC Director and founder, Dennis Hosking (pictured below) has written to stakeholders suggesting that “Fitness Australia is attempting to close out registration alternatives under the guise of their ‘Service Excellence Program’ and the official sounding, ‘Quality Assurance Employment’.”
Hosking goes on to state “professionals have expressed their concerns about the validity of the included ‘mandate’ that Fitness Australia registered businesses only employ Fitness Australia registered professionals, saying “these concerns are well founded”.
He goes on to question “far from being ‘Service Excellence’, this program shows a disrespect for the rights of professionals. It’s misleading for employers. It ignores government mandated best practice and it demonstrates a lack of contact with our increasingly diverse industry.
“The ‘Service Excellence Program’ does not reflect the rights of professionals.
“From our 'Open Letter to Recruitment Managers', ... if an employer were to make fitness registration a condition of employment, this would constitute an adverse action against the employee (or potential employee) and is, ultimately, illegal."
“Irrespective of Fitness Australia's opinion as to whether or not these rules apply to them, does anyone dispute that the intention of the Fair Work Act is to protect the rights of employees?
“Shouldn’t anything called ‘Service Excellence’ reflect the governments’ vision of best practice? (as) the only authority in our industry comes from the government.
“I’m aware there is a significant portion of the fitness industry under the illusion that Fitness Australia has government or legal authority. This is a fallacy that is never properly addressed by Fitness Australia.
“Professionals should be aware that they have every right to work in the fitness industry without Fitness Australia registration.
“While the ‘mandate’ of the ‘Quality Assurance’ program is that employers only recruit Fitness Australia registered professionals, employers should also note that, far from being an obligation, there is every chance this is illegal.”
Hosking, a frequent critic of Fitness Australia’s CECs (Continuing Education Credits) also notes “a review of the AusREPS directory shows that just 43% of professionals have accumulated the required CEC in the previous registration period.
“The gap between 'guarantee' and '43% compliant' should be a genuine concern for managers thinking they can rely exclusively on Fitness Australia registration as an assurance that ongoing development is taking place.”
Suggesting that the new initiative will make fitness recruitment harder, Hosking concludes “we know that recruitment and retention of staff is one of the greatest operational challenges for fitness employers. There is nothing to be gained by adding arbitrary rules to the recruitment process.
“We also know that a professional may accept an employer's conditions of registration to get a role, but there’s every chance they’ll remember their right to choose was ignored - we’ve met many that resented this imposition. It seems a poor way to begin the employer/employee relationship. For no obvious gain.
“By contrast, demonstrating respect and support from the outset goes a long way towards building stronger and more resilient teams. And if that reduces staff turnover, everybody wins.”
3rd October 2020 - Fitness Australia launches transferable membership and AusREP Relief package
2nd October 2020 - Fitness Australia calls for COVID Marshal overhaul in NSW
28th September 2020 - No change to fitness centre restrictions as Victorian Government eases lockdown measures
25th September 2020 - Fitness Australia asserts there is no clear evidence gyms spread COVID -19
10th September 2020 - FITREC delivers Code of Practice for outdoor fitness training in public spaces
19th August 2020 - FITREC highlights ‘heartbreaking’ impact of Victoria’s Coronavirus lockdown
7th October 2019 - FITREC eases path to fitness employment for exercise and sport students
29th March 2019 - FITREC announces new registration options
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