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  • 11 July 2016 09:27
  • in Government
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  • Last Modified: 12 July 2016 04:42
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Time to Ignite, Retune and Accelerate the Workforce to deliver an Active Nation

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The Government’s Sporting Futures strategy seeks a shift in the way in which front line staff encourages and inspires people to take part in meaningful and sustained sport and physical activity opportunities. It goes further by encouraging CIMPSA and Sport England to embed a new skills and competency framework. Sport England is championing this change through work and investment into CIMPSA and its own emerging strategies for volunteering and coaching. CSPs are seeking to advocate and implement through empowering local workforces to develop new skills and model new behaviours which target under-represented groups, support talent identification and identify community champions and ‘people like me’.
 
This evolution of the sports workforce is also taking place at a time when employment and skills is one of the highest economic central Government, European, LEP and Devolution deal priorities. There is a great deal of reform across the skills continuum including apprenticeships, academies, Careers and Enterprise, Area Reviews, that focuses on brining provider and employers closer together, getting more people into work with relevant occupationally specific qualifications and learning outcomes. All these priorities are focused on a more "demand led” approach to skills positioning employers at the heart of the reform. This provides us with the greatest opportunity and perhaps challenge; how do we encourage a new culture, identify future leaders and bring new skills and behaviours into the sector that deliver Government employment and skills priorities?  In addition to this, how can we support skills and employment initiatives across other professions and industries as well solving our own sectoral issues?
 
There is a great deal of existing excellent work across the sector -  apprenticeships, coach education, customer centricity and the realisation that we are in the behaviour change industry. But change needs a seismic effort to influence the demand for skills which need to retune the supply of individuals arriving at the door of the sector from academies, colleges and universities. We must work harder and smarter to get the education system and our profession working better together.
 
We need to ignite people’s desire to pursue sport and physical activity as a great, sustainable and exciting career option. A career which currently is sadly misrepresented and massively undervalued, not just for the fitness instructors, facilities, PE, coaches and sports development, but also for marketing and other disciplines using sport for well-being, social and economic development.
 
There is a need to accelerate processes around recruitment and talent identification – empowering and supporting our local employers to shape what they require from their existing and any future workforce around attitude, skills and behaviours, detail beyond pure qualifications. Apprenticeships provide one of our best levers to make this happen. Many sports are leading the way at high performance levels, and there are great coaches and activists out there motivating people to take part.
 
There is a recognition of the breadth of good practice across CSPs and the key role of national and local stakeholders such as the equity partners, StreetGames and our chartered institute. For the last 8 months we have listened to the sector in the Black Country, helped curate meaningful conversations about skills, and now (through our "Sector Skills Action Plan”) work with our Local Authorities and Colleges to reignite, retune and accelerate our workforce. In doing so, we are positioning the Sector be part of any major decisions around investment and coordination around local employment and skills issues. Early impact is very positive.
 
The Black Country Consortium will be launching its Sector Skills Action Plan on 13 September 2016 at the "Future of Sport: Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships” Conference with Why Sport? at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Targeted at employers, academics as well as those interested in entering the sector, the event is to be hosted by Jacqui Oatley, with key notes, debate workshops from leading figures from employment and skills and the sport sector including apprenticeships, careers and professional development.
 

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