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Education explained: awarding organisation vs training provider


Posted on 28 March 2024

The educational landscape can often feel vast and complex. Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director at Active IQ, outlines the difference between awarding organisations and training providers, and why both play an integral role in creating future fitness and physical activity professionals.


In the world of fitness and physical activity, there are two essential entities that every aspiring professional should be familiar with: awarding organisations and training providers.

Although they both contribute to the growth and development of health and fitness experts, they have very distinct roles. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what sets them apart.

Setting the standards

Awarding organisations are the quality control for training within any sector; in this case, the fitness industry. They're responsible for creating accredited qualifications and for providing certifications that validate a professional's knowledge, skills and behaviours.  
Think of them as the organisations that set the bar for what it means to be a competent health and fitness professional. Their main job is to design qualifications that meet industry needs and professional standards. These qualifications cover everything from personal training to sports nutrition. 
They also quality assure assessments to make sure that those seeking certification have what it takes to excel in their field.  
Awarding organisations don't work alone; they collaborate with regulators, employers and industry experts to keep their qualifications up to date and relevant. This ensures that physical activity qualifications continue to meet the changing needs of the industry.

Building competence

Training providers are the teachers of the fitness world. They're the ones who deliver the education and practical training needed to become a successful fitness and physical activity professional.  
Their job is to take the qualifications developed by awarding organisations and turn them into real-life learning experiences. These providers offer a variety of courses and workshops tailored to different levels of expertise. Whether you're just starting out or looking to specialise, there's something for everyone.  
Training providers follow the curriculum set by awarding organisations to make sure that what they teach aligns with the qualification and industry standards. They create a supportive learning environment where students can develop their skills. With experienced instructors and hands-on training, they help individuals grow into confident and competent professionals.  
So, while awarding organisations set the standards and validate a professional's expertise through certifications, training providers are the ones who deliver the education and practical training needed to meet those standards.

Backbone of the fitness industry

Claire Floquet made a late start in the fitness industry after a 15-year career in communications and marketing. Having always been a sports enthusiast, Claire’s passion for inspiring people to be active and helping them get healthier led her to a career change as she was turning 40.  
For the past five years she’s worked as a personal trainer and encourages more people to make the switch to the fitness and wellness sector in her role as an Active IQ Ambassador, so she has first-hand experience of both awarding organisations and training providers.  
She said: “I chose training providers that were accredited by Active IQ, as I knew their qualifications would be well recognised within the fitness industry.
“Then, I selected the providers based on their study options. For my first qualification, the Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing, I chose a local provider with face-to-face study on evenings and weekends. This enabled me to fit my study within my work schedule and to get the reassurance I needed by interacting with people ‘in real life’ while studying.” 
Together, awarding organisations and training providers form the backbone of our health and fitness industry, ensuring that professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Understanding the roles of these two entities is important for anyone looking to pursue a career in fitness.  

If you’re a learner and would like further information on our qualifications, you can View the Active IQ Prospectus
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an Active IQ approved training provider in your area, please email our Customer Services team at