A ‘ground-breaking’ new partnership will allow physical training instructors from the armed forces to collect an academic award alongside their military qualifications.

Birmingham City University has joined forces with the Joint Service School of Exercise Rehabilitation Instructors (JSSERI), part of the Defence Medical Academy Training Wing, to launch the first accredited Defence Exercise Rehabilitation Instructors course.

The partnership is the first time a course of its type has been launched anywhere in the world, allowing graduates to pick up accolades from both Birmingham City University and their arm of the military.

Physical Training Instructors from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force who pass the aptitude assessment for the 30-week course will attend DMRC and will also enrol as a student at the University.

The course will be delivered at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Stanford Hall, near Loughborough.

DMRC by JSSERI tutors who will be supported by University staff. On successful completion of the course, graduates will be awarded an Advanced Diploma in Defence Exercise Rehabilitation at Level 6.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at Birmingham City University, Professor Ian Blair said: “The Faculty is delighted that the Defence Exercise Rehabilitation Course leading to the Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor (ERI) qualification was successfully validated in December 2019.

“This innovative collaboration reinforces the excellent partnership that we have with all three military services and the Defence Medical Academy, although it is the first with the JSSERI.

“This is a very important course that prepares appropriately qualified military personnel with the knowledge and skills to enable them to assist their colleagues, some who have significant life changing injuries, to maximise their abilities thereby impacting positively on their quality of life.

“I sincerely hope that this will be the first of many such innovative courses and we will continue to grow the collaboration with the development of similarly pioneering taught and research programmes.”

The first accredited course commenced on Tuesday 7 January with the second course set to begin in July 2020.

Group Captain Mike Foster, who is Officer Commanding of the Training Division of the Defence Medical Academy, said: “This course is the only one of its type in the world. We have attempted to secure accreditation for the ERI course for several years without success.

“To have managed it successfully with BCU not only raises the profile and therefore credibility of ERIs but enhances the already strong relationship the Medical Academy has with the University who also deliver a number of other medical courses in partnership with us.”