YMCA Fitness Training Academy

More than a course. More than a qualification.
Become an Advanced Personal Trainer with this incredible fully-funded two-year course for 16-18 year olds.

The Fitness Training Academy is a direct route to a successful Personal Training career. Combine cutting-edge content, inspiring practical workshops and hands-on work placements to unlock your potential and transform your career.


Key information


Course locations:
Leeds, London, and Manchester.



Start date

September 2024


2 years
Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 4pm

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“I’ve always had a passion for fitness and I’ve always loved science. The FTA course is just as good as I expected it to be. I enjoy everything about it. It’s a very welcoming community and I’ve really grown as a person.” – Goku
About the course

FTA  combines inspiring practical workshops and engaging classroom theory with gym floor experience. You'll typically spend one day in the classroom, one day in the gym, up to one day boosting your English and maths and one day on a work placement. 

And, you’ll be taught by world-class industry experts who will give you the latest techniques and fitness knowledge. 

What you will learn

Develop your skills to help your clients achieve their goals 

  • How to provide tailored gym and exercise programmes 
  • Deliver one-to-one consultations and small group inductions to help clients achieve their goals 
  • Ability to train a variety of individuals (eg. young people, older adults and those with medical conditions which affect their lifestyle and wellbeing) 
  • Understanding how digital technology can support your clients’ programmes 
  • Use your nutritional knowledge to support your client’s physical activity and to help them achieve their goals 
  • Carry out detailed client postural analysis to help you to write corrective programmes to increase their function 
  • How to deliver basic health assessment techniques such as blood pressure and BMI tests 
  • How to maintain health, safety and customer welfare

Develop your communication skills 

  • How to communicate with clients effectively to promote wellness and exercise 
  • Skills to deliver one-to-one consultations and group inductions 
  • Understand how rapport and soft skills can be used to motivate and change your clients’ behaviour

Develop your anatomy and physiology knowledge 

  • Understand the heart, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system 
  • Understand the nervous and energy systems and their relation to exercise

Develop your business skills and client base 

  • How to promote, market and sell your PT service 
  • How digital and social platforms can be used to grow your client base 

Develop your leadership, management and customer service skills 

  • Understand how to provide good customer service and how to respond to customer complaints 
  • Understand different leadership styles and models plus the function and processes of sport and leisure management 

CPD modules

On top of your main qualification, you will have seven accredited one-day CPD (Continues Professional Development) modules designed to help accelerate your fitness career.

Group exercise   

Many people can qualify as a fitness trainer but very few can develop into unforgettable leaders who inspire a room full of clients. A great fitness trainer can seamlessly navigate the demands of being a coach, DJ and motivator while demonstrating multiple exercises and adapting where necessary. Learn tricks of the trade from the best studios and instructors in London’s booming fitness scene to give you the tools to lead with confidence.  

Coaching mindsets  

Coaching is the perfect balance between art and science.  Our application of training principles must be communicated in a way that guides the athlete from A to B, taking into account that the psychological will impact the physical - it is not one or the other, both matter.  This first requires deep introspection of the self, before we seek to understand others.   

Boxing padwork  

Learn the balance of boxing and how to safely coach and hold pads for your client. Being able to teach your client a new skill is not only empowering for them, but it will set you aside from other individuals in the industry. Boxing padwork session offers your client a more fun, interactive and exciting way to train their cardiovascular systems, outside of the traditional methods of running and rowing.  

Sports specific training  

Champions are made on the pitch but built in the training room.  Learn how to apply what we do in the gym to the sports field.  This module will break down seemingly complicated sports sequences into simple movements, so you can train them to see improvements on game day. 


Mobility refers to the body’s ability to access all range of movement without pain or compensation. We want to ensure our clients are able to move without pain, injury or joint restrictions, in order for them to carry out all basic movements and day to day activities. Learn how to understand and optimize mobility to improve the longevity of a clients’ physical and mental health. 

Client assessments   

Learn how to fit your program to your client, not try to fit your client to a program.  Fitness and training is about helping someone achieve their goals, taking them from A to B.  Most people will have an idea of where their point B is - but if we can understand where point A is, we can get them there more quickly safely and effectively. 

Business skills 

Once you are a qualified personal trainer, how do you make money? Should you register as a business? How do you get customers? Do you need a brand? All these questions are answered in this business skills module. Find out the key ingredients to becoming a successful business owner or sole trader in the world of health and fitness. 

English and maths

English and maths is critical to enhancing your personal, social and employability skills. Throughout the course, we will help you to develop these essential skills. If you haven’t yet achieved a grade 9-4 (formerly A*-C) in GCSE English and/or maths, we will help you to achieve this.

Work experience

Throughout this two-year programme, you will complete a variety of work placements at established and respected health and fitness venues, ranging from independent gyms to larger leisure centres.  These placements will allow you to gain on-the-job experience as an instructor and begin to establish potential employment opportunities. 


  • Multiple choice theory exams 
  • Theoretical case studies 
  • Online assessments 
  • Written assignments 
  • Practical observations 

What you qualify with


  • YMCA Level 2 Diploma in Exercise and Fitness instructing* 
  • YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Practitioner), Outdoor Exercise and Sports Conditioning* 

* These qualifications are internationally recognised and endorsed by CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) and REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals). 


  • GCSE English and maths and/or Functional Skills Level 2 English and maths.  
  • Several accredited one-day CPD (Continued Professional Development) courses with Experienced Nike Trainers including:
    • Group exercise    
    • Coaching mindsets   
    • Boxing padwork   
    • Sports specific training   
    • Mobility   
    • Client assessments    
    • Business skills 

Student support

Our team of Tutors have many years of experience within the fitness industry. They will provide outstanding support and will pass on their experience, knowledge and skills onto you. Our Tutors are also available to help you with personal issues, learning needs, study support, financial problems, accommodation, time management and getting you ready for employment.

Do you want to join FTA? Fill out the form bellow

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If you have any technical issues submitting an application form please email us.

Eligibility criteria 

This is a government-funded course and an alternative to college and A-levels, so it is only available to 16-18 year-olds who do not already hold any AS, A-levels or Level 3 qualifications. You will also need to have basic experience of gym-based exercise including free weights. 


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“As well as all the knowledge I now have and the Diploma, I feel so much more confident in helping people and interacting with people in the fitness world. The course allowed me to find a niche and turn a hobby into a lifestyle." - Kari Baker, Graduate