Meet our members: Julie Davis




The sport and physical activity sector is formed of individuals who are passionate about getting people moving. As CIMSPA membership continues to grow and our representation of the workforce diversifies, we highlight the individuals who are champions of our sector.

Individuals who are passionate, professional and competent drive the success and growth of our sector. Through sport or physical activity, they inspire and enable our nation to be active. In CIMSPA’s pursuit to showcase the excellence of the sport and physical activity sector’s workforce we present CIMSPA’s ‘Meet the Member’ blogs. Through a variety of interviews with CIMSPA members we want to highlight the different career avenues available in our sector and show just how diverse in experience our workforce really is.

In this installment we introduce Julie Davis, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Clinical Research Network West Midlands. We had a great time chatting to Julie about her background, the #DoingOurBit campaign, her career so far and how she thinks being a CIMSPA member affects her future in the sector.

Could you briefly outline your background and current role?

“I am currently the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Clinical Research Network West Midlands. The Network provides the infrastructure that allows high-quality research to take place in our area, in the NHS and beyond, so that people can benefit from new and better care and treatments. In terms of fitness, I am working with fibodo, Study Active and Active IQ to roll out the free #DoingOurBit (#DOB) fitness platform across the NHS. The idea is that we are looking after the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and keeping them fit and active. It started in response to providing a range of accessible activities during the pandemic but is now firmly established as an at-home fitness option that will last long after lockdown.

“I’m a CIMSPA member and currently working towards my Level 3 PT qualification with Study Active. Aside from this, I’m a competitive powerlifter – so I really appreciate the physical and mental benefits of being active.”

What are your future ambitions and goals?

“Initially, the goal for #DOB was to support my colleagues with activity. Very early on the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust asked if I could extend this offering to its 10,000 staff and I realised I needed a bigger, more robust platform that could scale up as demand grew. Little did I know how quickly it would catch on. Ten months after we launched #DoingOurBit we now have 100 NHS trusts signed up and over 600,000 NHS staff able to access the platform. Now my goal is to ensure every single NHS employee has access to what is on offer so we have true equity of access, regardless of what job you do and where you live or work. Quality, integrity and safety are of paramount importance and every minute of every workout is verified by experts to ensure our NHS colleagues can engage in activity safely.”

What does it mean to be part of the sector’s only Chartered Institute?

“CIMSPA upholds quality and integrity and sets high standards for the industry which mirrors the ethos behind #DoingOurBit. The vast majority of the PTs contributing to #DOB are CIMSPA members and you can just tell by the quality of their work that they share and uphold the same high standards and professionalism. The support that CIMSPA is now giving #DOB by sharing our intention and opportunity with its members is very much appreciated: being part of this proactive and supportive network means a lot.”

How has being a CIMSPA member supported you to achieve or progress towards these goals?

“Being a member of CIMSPA has enabled me to make connections that will help the platform grow, and benefit all of the NHS staff who want to access the online workouts. The founding fitness partners – Active IQ, fibodo and Study Active – are all CIMSPA members as well and the unification of the team under the CIMSPA banner instills confidence in people looking at #DoingOurBit. I am hoping that there may also be the opportunity in the future to link in with CIMSPA consultations and maybe influence health and wellbeing at work initiatives, outside of the NHS in the post-pandemic world.”

What one thing or piece of advice would you recommend to others currently in or entering a role like your own?

“I hold a fairly senior role in the NHS, with almost 20 years’ experience in research and a Masters in Public Health so it was a big step for me to venture into a new area, and I took my time to find a course that could fit around my busy ‘day job’. When the pandemic hit, it was very apparent I had chosen my training provider (Study Active) and awarding organisation (Active IQ) well as both pivoted quickly to adapt my training and assessment so I could keep making progress. As an athlete, I am passionate about the health benefits of physical activity and want to shout it from the rooftops but it’s not enough to simply be enthusiastic about something. To really help others change their lifestyle or attitude to physical activity, you need knowledge, skills and qualifications. Learning the importance of preparation, how to build an activity programme safely and appreciating the physical and mental implications, barriers and benefits of exercise really opens your eyes.

“Don’t underestimate how much the training and knowledge will help improve your own activity and motivation. I’d say to anyone who is interested in fitness and wellbeing that training even to Level 2 will give you some much more context and confidence. I was spurred on to train to Level 3 – not least because I was so impressed by the encouraging way the #DOB PTs are engaging people into activity. I demand high standards of myself at work and within my sport so it was natural for me to aim high in terms of my training. I purposefully opted for a CIMSPA endorsed qualification from a CIMSPA approved provider to ensure I would get first-class training and would recommend others starting out do the same.”

How are you preparing yourself for those new opportunities and changes?

“We have a lot of plans to make #DOB bigger and better, and fit for purpose, whatever the future holds. #DoingOurBit was devised in the first lockdown to give back to NHS workers during the challenging pandemic but is set to continue its support of the NHS long into the future. I’m looking forward to ensuring we continue to make it relevant for our workforce. We will be embracing the changes in terms of digital and active workplaces by partnering with the right experts to ensure #DOB remains relevant and attractive despite the crowded online fitness world.”

Since being a CIMSPA member what has been the biggest benefit to you?

“I am new to the world of fitness in terms of my professional life, but I have enjoyed reading the magazine and joining some of the webinars. The flow of information and ideas is motivating - every day is a school day, so they say! All these opportunities together will enable me to grow as a PT and put that knowledge to good use.”

Do you have any advice for those thinking of applying for membership?

“Don't just sign up – actively use your membership, engage and take advantage of the support that CIMSPA offers. Invest in time to learn, no matter how long you have been in the fitness industry.”

Summary

Julie is just one of thousands of CIMSPA members whose dedicated career represents the commitment, passion and devotion to sport and physical activity. CIMSPA, our members and partners are working together to bring recognition and respect for our profession and this continues to be possible because of our members, like Julie.

If you would like to get involved or submit your own blog please contact reece.stafferton@cimspa.co.uk for further details and requirements.

#DoingOurBit are looking for more Personal Trainers volunteers to join their digital platform to deliver high quality training and add to their library of workout videos. Get involved in a great programme to support NHS staff by clicking the link below.
 

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity


CIMSPA’s work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.
 

Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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