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Brief History

The National Council for Exercise & Fitness (NCEF) provides and facilitates comprehensive education and training for Exercise and Health Fitness Professional Instructors in Ireland


The NCEF was initially established in 1987 by the Physical Education Association of Ireland (PEAI) in association with Thomond College of Education (now integrated into the University of Limerick). The initiation of the scheme was also supported by the Sports Section, Department of Education at that time. The NCEF is an academic affiliate of the University of Limerick.


The NCEF is a registered company limited by guarantee. It operates on a not-for-profit basis and is guided by a Board of Trustees. Board members consist of representation from PEAI, UL, business, education, employer and leisure industry backgrounds.


NCEF Programmes of Study are accredited by the University of Limerick and aligned to Europe Active. Europe Active is the EU approved industry standards setting body for the European health and fitness sector.


An internal management structure, governed by comprehensive strategic planning, guides the programmes, policies and procedures of the NCEF and diligently upholds its standards. Within this structure and in conjunction with the academic regulations of the University of Limerick, all programmes are developed, operated and stringently monitored. New policies are developed and implemented on an ongoing basis and specific procedures are closely followed.


The NCEF Head Office is located at the University of Limerick and courses operate nationwide both in industry based commercial settings and in educational establishments.


Public service bodies such as the Departments of Justice, Defence, FÁS, and others have acknowledged the quality of NCEF qualifications by continually placing students on these programmes. The NCEF also provides intensive programmes to students within Institutes of Technology, to Physical Education and Sports & Exercise Science students at the University of Limerick and in Colleges of Further Education, based on recognition of prior learning.


The NCEF is fully bonded therefore all fees are protected.


Download a copy of the chronological history of the NCEF here

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