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Fitness fans are given a sporting chance

FE colleges and universities have collaborated to create a radical new degree with a practical slant. Simon Midgley reports

A HEALTH-RELATED exercise and fitness foundation degree is to be offered by Leeds Metropolitan University and five partner further education colleges from this autumn.

It is intended for physical training instructors and fitness trainers and aims to attract students who don't usually consider higher education.

"We will give them the support needed to succeed," says Helen Whitrod Brown, a principal lecturer in the university's school of leisure and sports studies.

"It's a foundation degree for those who don't have a strong academic history but who have nevertheless developed a range of skills and knowledge and who would benefit from a university learning experience.

"All assessments are related to work-based examples. It is very much about that theory-to-practice link. There is less focus on exams and more on case studies, problem-solving and real issues in the work place. We need employers to benefit from this as much as employees."

It is being developed in close collaboration with leading sports organisations including Leeds United FC, the Bradford Bulls, the rugby league club, the Fitness Industry Association, SPRITO (the National Training Organisation for Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations), Sports Coach UK and David Lloyd Leisure, the largest health and fitness club provider in the UK.

The university and its partner colleges - Thomas Danby, Bradford, College, Dewsbury and Leeds College of Technology - will take 112 part-time and 24 full-time students.

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