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YMCA Diploma in Exercise Referral

Level 3

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Key Info

Learning Area   Sports & Fitness
Delivery Mode   Part-time
Duration   1 Year

Dates & Locations

Course Type   Adult
Location   Cornwall College Camborne
Start Date   14/09/2021
Fees   Tuition Fees: £2225.00

Course Type   Adult
Location   Cornwall College St Austell
Start Date   16/09/2021
Fees   Tuition Fees: £2225.00

The role of an exercise referral instructor is one of the most important in the industry. With health conditions such as obesity, depression and type 2 diabetes on the rise, using exercise to reduce the implications of these conditions is becoming an essential intervention and supported by medical professionals worldwide. If having a rewarding career where you positively improve the health of an individual is for you then this course could be your next step.

Cornwall College has a working exercise referral scheme with St Austell healthcare so those undertaking the course will have hands on experience of the entire process involved from the client being referred, to the exit strategies of the scheme when the client has completed and hopefully achieved their goals.

In addition to this you will have the opportunity to gain experience with real clients in collaboration with other referral schemes in the community where partnerships have been made to enhance your learning experience. This will allow you to get the most out of your learning by directly applying theory into practice with the guidance of not only your college tutor but other industry experts.

Our industry experienced lecturers are fully qualified and practicing fitness professionals themselves and will guide you towards a career as an exercise referral instructor. You will learn about a variety of medical conditions and how to prescribe safe and effective exercise. You will gain knowledge on the exercise referral process and how the fitness professional is involved as well as risk stratification ensuring that the benefit of exercise for the client outweighs the risk it may pose.

This course is perfect for qualified personal trainers who are looking to develop their breadth of clients to those who have more complex medical conditions. In addition to this the NHS long term plan envisages that by 2023 nearly 1 million people will be referred to schemes involving exercise referral meaning that specific job roles in the NHS will be more readily available than they are already.

  What You Will Learn

During this course you will learn about the exercise referral process and other professionals involved and how you as the fitness professional fit in. You will learn about over 15 different medical conditions and how they affect the body and what happens if they are left untreated.

We will investigate the medications used to treat conditions and how side effects may pose a risk to exercise and what you as the professional needs to do to reduce this risk.

You will work with real life clients and take part in a full consultation to establish their goals and prescribe the most effective exercise relevant to their medical condition and guide them through this programme over a period of time.

  Entry Requirements

Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology for Exercise and Health & Applying the Principles of Nutrition to a Physical Activity Programme are essential pre-requisites.?You must also hold either a Level 3 certificate in personal training, L3 Diploma in teaching Pilates or L3 Diploma in teaching Yoga.

  Work Experience

The college has a working exercise referral scheme which learners will work in collaboration with. There are also partnerships set up with other referral schemes in the community to enable you to gain as much knowledge and experience in real life settings to set you up perfectly for a career in this profession.


You will be assessed by completing a learner assessment record which contains written elements for you to complete. You will also be required to complete a case study with a referred client and plan and deliver exercise programmes for them, which will be observed by your assessor.


On completion of this level 3 course you will then be able to progress on to more medical specialised level 4 courses including diabetes and obesity, cardiac rehabilitation or mental health.

These courses allow you to work with clients requiring even more specialised support. You will also be able to work with a wider range of clients in your own personal practice as a personal trainer or be qualified to work as a social prescriber within the NHS.


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Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The College reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility. The Cornwall College Group reserves the right to withdraw any course listed at any time.

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Victoria Holdon

A photo of Victoria Holdon

“I started my journey into the fitness world at Cornwall College over 5 years ago when I decided to train to be a gym instructor. From there, I went on to become a Personal Trainer and then completed a degree. After finishing my degree I started up my own Personal Training business called Inner Strength PT. I quickly discovered there is far more to personal training than just getting someone fit, it’s a whole package. So many different aspects were covered through my education at Cornwall College, from business management, to the psychological barriers that people have to exercise.
"The college really helped me gain the knowledge and the capabilities to be able to streamline my business to where I am now. This has helped immensely as I am able to work with each individual client, helping to build self confidence and self esteem, whilst seeing them get fitter not only physically but also mentally. We really are very fortunate to have such a great college on our doorsteps.”

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