As the Indian fitness sector grows more and more people want a share of the pie,by hook or crook. In most cases it’s the latter. But unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of the reality and the gimmicks applied by various players in this sector to lure them.
As I covered the realities of Indian education sector, I exposed a lot of lies and myths being spread. One of the latest in the same line is the REPS certified courses and professionals who are being falsely promised international employment and shown other rosy pictures.
First let’s understand REPS. The parent body of what you call as REPS is ICREPS, which stands for International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals, is an international partnership between registration bodies around the world that register exercise professionals.
Ideally this is it.
[“ICREPS has three main functions:
1. To facilitate international portability/recognition for exercise professionals worldwide
2. To provide information and support to countries and regions that wish to develop registration systems for exercise professionals
3. To facilitate sharing of best practice systems between ICREPs members
ICREPs, charges an annual fee to its members to cover its operating costs which varies depending on the size of the register.
Current Members fees (valid as of October 2014)
a) Initial application fee
Payable in the first year, and only re-payable if membership lapses: €500
b) Annual fee
Annual fees are set based on the size of the register.
*Provisional Members (any size): €500
– with less than 5,000 registered exercise professionals: €500
– with 5,000 to 20,000 registered exercise professionals: €1,500
– with 20,001 to 50,000 registered exercise professionals: €2,500
– with more than 50,000 registered exercise professionals,: €5,000
So in the first year, a provisional member would pay €1,000 (€500 initial application fee + €500 annual fee). A full member with 10,000 registered exercise professionals would pay €2,000 (€500 initial application fee + €1,500 annual fee).]
ICREPS has various countries registered with them, which recently included India too. Now, let’s first straight go to the REPS INDIA website and understand what they have to say. (https://repsindia.org).
This is what they have to say:
“REPS India is an independent, public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in India against international standards. REPS provides a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the global health and fitness industry’s agreed standards.
REPS India serves to protect people who take part in exercise and physical activity and provides assurance and confidence to the public and employers that all professionals on the Register are appropriately qualified and have the knowledge, competence and skills to perform their role effectively. As REPS India will meet international standards, the aim is for all members to be internationally portable to other countries if they wish to work abroad.
REPS India has established a system of standards, qualifications and training that is truly world class and meets international standards from around the globe.”
Membership signifies that an exercise professional;
- has met nationally and internationally agreed occupational standards
- holds recognised and approved qualifications
- is independently verified as being competent in the work place
- is committed to on going professional development
The standards of REPS India are based on the Global Standards for fitness produced by the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs).
Courses to give entry to REPS are approved through an independent third party appointed by REPS India. PD Approval applies a quality assurance system to training provider with no influence or involvement of REPS India.
In order to become a fitness professional and register with REPS India you must hold a recognised qualification from an approved training provider.”
Now, by reading all those attractive words and rosy lines, what do you really understand? The answer is it all means absolutely nothing. Nothing in terms of employment, or job opportunities, nothing in terms of income increase or any enhancement in knowledge.
Let me reveal the hidden facts behind this, from the horse’s mouth. Some days back, Dr. Dhananjay More (a qualified MBBS doctor, and one of the most educated and experienced fitness professional in the country, certified from ACSM, ACE etc.) contacted me and he spoke to me about this topic and the false promises being spread in India suddenly out of the blues.
In a country, where fitness is an unregulated sector, suddenly an organization comes up, claiming to offer many things and specially international jobs as a lollipop to Indian fitness professionals, for which most Indians crave, and is the easiest weapon to lure them in.
Then, Dr. More, officially mailed the REPS registered bodies in various countries, which includes REPS INDIA. he formulated a set of basic but extremely important common questions for all of them, the answers to which would reveal everything openly. And that’s what exactly happened.
He sent the mails to:
– REPS India
– REPS Ireland
– REPS Australia
– REPS New Zealand
– REPS UK
– REPS South Africa
– REPS UAE
Here are the replies from various officials mails from these organizations:
Please find below our comments in red:
• Is REPS India, a Government organization? No
• Does REPS India represent any department / ministry / office of Government of India? No
• If a Fitness professional is otherwise fully eligible for a job in Fitness industry in India, is it still mandatory for him / her to get REPS India registration? No
• If any office / department / ministry of Indian Government has made REPS India registration mandatory for jobs in Indian Fitness industry, then can you please provide a copy of that resolution / GR / notification? No
Hi Dr. Dhananjay,
Thanks for your email. We are a non-governmental body who represent Fitness Professionals in Ireland, it is not a requirement for fitness professionals to register their qualifications with us to work in Ireland.
REPS NEW ZEALAND
Please see our answers in blue below.
For members of the public and other health professionals, registration with REPs NZ is the recognised standard to ensure safe and effective exercise advice.
Is it made mandatory for every Fitness professional by New Zealand Government? If yes, can you please provide a copy of that notification or resolution?
Registration is voluntary and not government regulated
REPs NZ is recognised by many organisations, including Exercise New Zealand (the industry association), and the International Confederation for Registers of Exercise Professionals (ICREPs).
Is it recognised by the New Zealand Government?
There is not a legal requirement to REPs register. There are government agencies who recognise the work that REPs does to maintain standards in New Zealand.
If a Fitness professional is otherwise fully qualified for a job in Fitness in New Zealand, will he/she become ineligible just because he/she is not registered with REPS NZ?
The majority of employers expect the exercise professional to be registered.There is not a government regulation requiring this.
REPs Registration Coordinator
Thank you for your email.
Fitness Australia is a not-for-profit industry association, that exists to professionalise the fitness industry through engaging in partnerships, advocacy,delivering education, quality and accreditation. Fitness Australia supports the industry to deliver an environment for more Australians to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle.
We are not a Australian Government Organisation and it is not mandatory for a Personal Trainer or qualified Fitness personnel to be registered with us.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Customer Service Representative
Hi Dr More,
Thanks for your email and apologies for the delayed response. We are currently experiencing high email volumes.
REPs UK is not associated with an official Government or represent UK Government or any of its department or ministry, REPs was launched in 2002 to provide confidence to employers and the public that instructors and trainers meet the National Occupational Standards set by the industry.
As well as protecting the public, the Register enhances the employment prospects of exercise professionals by recognising their skills and qualifications.For employers, it offers an efficient mechanism for verifying qualifications and ensuring the competence of staff, especially in the specialist areas linked to health rehabilitation. Around two-thirds of all UK trainers are members of REPs,making it by far the largest register of fitness professionals.
If a qualification has been obtained internationally (India) the student will have to register with REPs India and obtain a “letter of portability” to map their gained qualification to the UK standards that would mean they would need to register with REPs UK to be able to work within the UK.
If a qualification has been obtained within the UK it is not a mandatory required to be registered on the REPs UK register, it would be the members discretion.
Hope this helps!
Should you require any further assistance please feel free to contact us.
Alisha Parmar | Senior Customer Service Advisor | Register of Exercise
REPS SOUTH AFRICA – did not give any clear information despite repeated mails. But they meant the same things by whatever answers they gave, as did the other REPS members.
REPS UAE – reply is pending
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
So, let’s get the complete picture so that this confusion can be clear in your minds:
REPS is not a government registered body in any country. It’s a private organization, and there are hundreds of such organizations, each offering you benefits, which actually mean nothing for most people. You can also open organizations tomorrow and start registering people on the basis of certain self-made set of rules and start charging any fee from them.
REPS does not represent any government body or has affiliations from any ministry. So anyone claiming anything related to government and government jobs, is lying to you.
Most important – to be a fitness professional in India or anywhere in the world,you do not need any REPS certification or qualification or registration.
REPS registration is NOT necessary for a fitness related job in any country including India. But a good international certification surely is.
Indian fitness industry or any government sector has no official relation to REPS or for that matter any such private body who is setting any basic standards or registering professionals. That’s true for REPS in other countries too.
World’s top organizations like ACSM, NSCA, ISSA, NASM, ACE etc. do not need any such recognition or affiliation. Nor do the professionals who are certified from these bodies need anything except these certifications. These bodies and more like these have more validation, credentials and accreditations than most other organization out there.
Now the most important of them all. REPS do not promise any form of employment in any country, forget about international employment. It’s not written in any of their website that they guarantee international or even domestic jobs. Neither have they mentioned it anywhere, nor have they given in writing to anyone. Which they will never do. It’s just a spoken word, which in reality means nothing.
Top organizations like ACSM, NSCA, ISSA, NASM, ACE etc. also do not promise you any such job opportunities, but they never even mention it orally or otherwise.
No fitness qualification in India, be it international too, can promise you a job abroad. You won’t get any job on the basis of these certifications. If you are planning to shift abroad for some reason, these international qualifications may come handy to get a job there. But you won’t be offered a job from India and called there for employment. Even in such a case, being qualified from top organizations like ACE, ACSM, ISSA, NASM, NSCA etc would be much more valuable.
Organizations registered under REPS INDIA, mean nothing to anyone, and it doesn’t make them better in any way from other organizations. If they tell you that they are charging extra money because they are REPS certified, it’s just because they themselves are paying REPS every year, which they want to take out from you.
Fitness in India is not a regulated or government recognized sector. There is no national registry for fitness professionals in the Government of India.
Most importantly, REPS INDIA charges you app. 7200 rupees/year, to get yourself registered under them. Question you need to ask yourself is, for what? If you are interested in paying an amount to any private body for nothing, then it’s totally up to you. It’s your money. There is no increase in any chance of employment or income by spending money like this. There are multiple private bodies in the world, but you can’t go about spending money on each one of them, just because someone is marketing them as the next big thing.
Now, let’s say REPS want to really improve the standards of fitness education in India, then why doesn’t it starts from the grassroot levels?
Who gave REPS the authority to decide on fitness standards in India?
At the academies which certify trainers, and are so called REPS registered, what are the qualifications of their so called ‘educators’, who are running these academies?
There is no regulation or consensus in terms of the education to be imparted to the fitness coaches in India as of now. If there is an education benchmark set,then surely the product coming out of these academies would be world class.