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The voice of youth

CIMSPA will host a Youth Panel at next year's active-net event, with the aim of offering real insight into Gen Z

Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 4
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
The event will look to explore the behaviour and attitudes of Gen Z / shutterstock
The event will look to explore the behaviour and attitudes of Gen Z/ shutterstock

It's just months until active-net 2020, the two-day educational, networking and business meetings event, which attracts professionals from across the physical activity sector.

Following recent research by Leisure-net into the behaviour, attitudes and perceptions of 16 - 24 year olds (Gen Z), the theme of the event is: ‘Gen Z-What makes them tick?'.

YOUTHFUL INSIGHT
To help delegates learn more about this important demographic, active-net 2020 will host members of the CIMSPA Youth Panel, a vibrant mix of young people from across the UK, ranging from students and apprentices to those in employment.

Formed in summer 2018, the Youth Panel is chaired by Malcolm McPhail, group CEO of Life Leisure.

"When I attended the CIMSPA AGM and conference in the past, I was struck by how it was dominated by middle aged people like myself, so when I joined the board, I was determined to make a difference," says McPhail.

Working with Danielle Peel, CIMSPA's head of organisation design and development, McPhail set about creating the chartered institute's first Youth Panel, an advisory group comprising young adults aged 16 to 25, with a view to engaging the younger generation and gaining insight into their perspective on the sector. The impact of the young adults is already being felt across CIMSPA.

"They have been brilliant. Not only have they helped to shape the CIMSPA strategy, both its vision and mission, they have acted as our advocates and consequently have put CIMSPA in front of a wider and younger audience through social media," says McPhail."

EVERYONE BENEFITS
At active-net 2020, members of the Youth Panel will help operators understand how to engage with Gen Z consumers, who get their information, news and entertainment through their phones or tablets in constantly streamed, bite-sized chunks.

Fraser Ford is a member of the CIMSPA Youth Panel. The 22-year-old is a Community Champion at Southampton FC. Based at one of the largest schools in the city, with some 1,800 students, Ford works with pupils to engage them in physical activity, whether that's one-on-one or in group sessions.

With a lifelong passion for sport, Ford started volunteering with Southampton FC four years ago when he started university. He applied for a position on the CIMSPA Youth Panel after his tutor made him aware of the opportunity.

"I thought it would be good for me and my career – and it certainly has been," Ford said. "I've enjoyed so many amazing experiences – not many 22-year-olds get to experience these things."

Being on the panel has also been useful for Ford's masters research project, which focused on how CIMSPA works with football foundations. He is looking forward to sharing his experiences and views with active-net delegates, particularly when it comes to communicating with Gen Z. l

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