Sport and education have much in common. They both offer progressive opportunities for social change, inspire nations and unite people from all walks of life.
The sport and physical activity sector workforce is unique, broad and often complicated. Few other sectors have a workforce with such a diverse range of employment and deployment - 3 million volunteers, 1 million people viewing it as their main form of employment, 70% working fewer than 30 hours a week, and a large proportion being self-employed. Occupations range from gym instructor at a fitness centre to a sports analyst for a professional football club or a contract manager of a leisure trust. The sector relies heavily upon an incredible number of willing volunteers who dedicate their free time to create positive sporting experiences for others, often at their own expense - we all know a mum or dad who help out at their local football or swimming club.
Growing the sector through collaboration and partnership
The diversity of employment across such a wide range of occupations creates significant opportunities for the education sector to work with the sport sector to develop learning programmes which prepare people for a career in sport. CIMSPA and Pearson are working together to help the sector flourish and grow. Our strategies are aligned in our drive to deliver career-focused education to prepare learners for the skills needs of the future. Our ambition is for learners to enter the workforce at the right level, see clearly how they can progress in the sector and have fruitful and fulfilling careers as a result.
There has never been a better time for sector bodies, awarding organisations, universities, training providers and employers to work more closely together to prepare learners for the world of work. There are many fantastic examples of where this is happening already, as highlighted in the recent impact report launched at the CIMSPA 2019 annual conference in February.
During the conference we learned how CIMSPA is supporting employers to develop new apprenticeship and professional standards, how Pearson has recently introduced its four new BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Sport and Outdoor Activities, Sporting Excellence and Performance, Sports Coaching and Development and Sport, Fitness and Personal Training - the first BTEC National to achieve CIMSPA endorsement against the new professional standards. Each of these qualifications have clear pathways to employment or progression to higher education.
Workforce of the future - training for change
It is fundamental that we understand current and future trends and how this will affect the future skills required by the workforce. We’re often training people for jobs that don’t exist yet and working patterns are changing, underpinned by technology that is both disrupting and influencing the world of work. In the sport sector, we are starting to see the impact of this: consumer trends are changing and we’re seeing multi-million-pound investments into companies like Peleton, which offer a full home-fitness package on subscription.
The fitness sector is in rapid growth and insight tells us this trend will continue, with budget and boutique gym chains having seen exponential growth in the last decade. Your local leisure centre is offering online booking and virtual fitness classes, something that was unheard of 10-15 years ago. Technology has transformed fans’ relationships with their favourite club or athlete, as they can now communicate directly with them and follow their digital footprint. Boundaries have been pushed and barriers removed. In addition, fitness apps are telling us when to move by tracking our physical activity levels and sleep patterns.
Sport in a digital world - Pearson’s launch of BTEC Sport+
Pearson is making use of new technology to support and assess its sports qualifications. Pearson is thrilled to announce the launch of the new video-based digital learning subscription with five-time Olympic Medalist and gymnast Max Whitlock MBE.
BTEC Sport+ is presented to students in a variety of video clips, covering units and learning aims in bitesize chunks. The content is accessible anywhere and anytime via the app and is to support learners studying a BTEC in Sport. Visit the Sport+ page to find out more
In addition, Pearson has created video career profiles and a digital career map to support learners’ understanding of the various career opportunities within the sport sector. The videos are delivered by Max and some of his support team, who help get him to the Olympics! This content is free for anyone to use, simply visit the Careers Hub
Education for communities and careers
Career-focused education will help to develop the current and future sector workforce to function confidently and competently as technology changes and evolves, but at the same time to connect with and meet the needs of the local community. CIMSPA and Pearson are continuing to work together on the mission to support a recognised and respected profession everyone wants to be part of, offering career-focused education in sport. We encourage and welcome thoughts from sector bodies, employers and stakeholders.
"We're passionate about building an active nation. An essential part of that is ensuring that the sport sector workforce is equipped with the right skills and adaptability to thrive as the industry evolves. Career-focused education is at the heart of this, enabling young people to invest in their future in a hands-on way, building lifelong resilience."
Stuart Armstrong, Head of Coaching, Sport England