Thursday, July 31, 2008


Nordic Walking UK - 'The Big Story' Update!

Further to the 'Big Story' post on Monday (July 28th). I now have further details from NWUK. My thanks to the management at NWUK for giving me permission to post this information on this Blog. Although I have been privy to it for a few days, it has been held back to allow NWUK instructors (to whom it is addressed) to have access to it first. Emails were sent out to NWUK instructors earlier this week.

The article was written by Martin Christie, NWUK's Head of Training & Education

Dear NWUK Instructor

For the past 18 months there has been a huge amount of work and effort that has been going on behind the scenes to prepare Nordic Walking UK for the next stage of developing Nordic walking in the UK. As a national training organisation we recognised the importance of making sure we stayed in line with the demanding standards within the UK. Learning from the experiences of the fitness industry over the past five years, understanding the diverse backgrounds from which our instructor came and the extensive markets to which Nordic walking was being adapted, Nordic Walking UK Ltd employed the highly experienced services of Santé Solutions to assist in the future development of the Nordic Walking Instructor training & support programme...

...We recognised that essential expertise required to take this next big step lay outside of the existing management team. From the outset, Santé Solutions shared a vision and mission to establish the most professional Nordic Walking training company in the world; together, we wanted to make sure there was clarity to both the instructors and the consumer, particularly as to qualifications within our UK industry.

As many of you will know, I spent a huge amount of time and effort establishing Nordic Walking UK as the only REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) accredited Nordic Walking Instructor course, allowing those with fitness qualifications to attain 16 CPD points. Nordic Walking UK, under the new management of Santé Solutions, is now moving to another level again and with our combined expertise, is working with REPs to apply a much clearer structure of qualifications. This will not affect your existing accreditation or training and Nordic Walking UK has accommodated these to fit within the new structure.

Due to the requests from many instructors, PCTs, Local Authorities and health clubs requiring more support to help promote the benefits of Nordic walking, Santé Solutions, under the brand name of Nordic Walking UK, has developed a complete range of additional courses and support programmes. You will see on the new website,, how this will help instructors from all backgrounds access new and different markets. Nordic Walking UK has also established a voluntary Code of Practice to distinguish its instructors from others and the new marketing Tool Kit provides one the most advanced business support tools ever seen in the leisure industry.

Since launching Nordic walking in the UK in 2003, Nordic Walking UK has worked with INWA in the delivery of instructor training programmes. INWA provided the instructor manual while I then wrote and developed the programmes in the UK. With no developments from INWA on the manual or developmental courses since 2005, Nordic Walking UK with Santé Solutions has taken its own huge strides to ensure rising standards.

Nordic Walking UK has now, therefore, moved away from delivering the INWA course. With INWA also came the requirement to use Exel Nordic walking equipment. Without influence now from Europe, Nordic Walking UK is able to advise on a number of different manufacturers of poles and is even working with a new company to develop a completely new range. This doesn’t exclude Exel and, personally, I very much value the work done in the past by Exel and INWA. We can now, however, look forward and concentrate on the requirements of the UK and Nordic Walking UK Instructors.

Some of you may have received a communication from Karen Ingram or Catherine Hughes who delivered some of our instructor courses. Now that Nordic Walking UK has now moved away from delivering the INWA course, Karen and Catherine have taken over the mantel for INWA in the UK. Nordic Walking UK wishes them every success in their vision of not-for-profit Nordic walking activity promotion.

The changes occurring within Nordic Walking UK should only have positive results for Nordic walking instructors. If relevant for those looking to work abroad, however, previously gained INWA qualifications remain valid.

On a final note, and for those who know me personally, I am saddened that Francis, with whom I have worked for five years, has decided not to move forward with the new Nordic Walking UK. Francis will concentrate on his position as a board member of INWA and I very much wish him well in this international role.

Please do take time to explore all the benefits of the new website and the new Nordic Walking UK – this is just the beginning!

Kind regards

Martin Christie

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