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CIMSPA sets out its vision for professionalising the leisure workforce in new strategy

By Kath Hudson    20 Feb 2024
CIMSPA CEO, Tara Dillon, says the 2024-2030 strategy is a statement of intent / CIMSPA
CIMSPA has released its 2024-2030 strategy
Six system interventions are outlined to achieve better recognition for the workforce
A National Training Academy is proposed
The strategy was developed in partnership with industry stakeholders and employers

CIMSPA has published its 2024-2030 strategy Releasing the Power of Our Profession, which sets out how the sector’s 600,000-strong workforce can be supported and professionally recognised.

Introducing the strategy, CIMSPA CEO, Tara Dillon, says the strategy is the result of a collaboration with professionals working in the sector, as well as employers, education providers, government bodies and representatives of allied professions.

Dillons says the strategy is more than a roadmap: “It's a declaration of our intent to ensure that the great contributions those working in the sport and physical activity sector make to society and the economy are recognised and celebrated.”

The strategy outlines six system interventions to deliver greater recognition for the sector’s workforce:

1. Local skills plans: ensuring the training from colleges, universities and training providers match what employers need; providing employers with a skilled workforce and giving people great career pathways.

2. National Training Academy/education ecosystem: harnessing recent skills legislation to increase the positive impact of a quality-assured education delivery ecosystem.

3. Careers support: continually improving recruitment, training, retention and support of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

4. Business support hub: enhancing business resilience and success for sector enterprises with a focus on small employers and those in a start-up phase.

5. Workforce governance: ensuring a professional well-governed sport and activity workforce delivering safe and high-quality participation opportunities for all.

6. UK sport and physical activity skills observatory: leading a new venture for the sector around research-informed decision making.

Equality, diversity and inclusivity is one area where change is needed, as core sport and physical activity occupations tend to be less diverse than the UK-wide workforce, with an average of 87 per cent of people being of white British ethnicity compared with 79 per cent elsewhere. The sector also has a higher than average proportion of workers from lower socio-economic groups: 28 per cent versus 23 per cent workforce-wide.

Almost 600,000 people work in the sector. The biggest cohort – 236,9000 – work in non-sport roles such as reception, marketing and finance; 172,000 have jobs at the core such as PT, coach or leisure centre manager; 73,200 work within sport and physical activity as freelancers and 105,600 have related jobs outside the core industries, such as in hospitality and education.

More than half (56 per cent) work in businesses with less than 250 employees and 91 per cent of sector enterprises have fewer than 49 employees. CIMSPA’s business insight research revealed a sector with a majority of start-up enterprises, so the strategy will aim to support them build their resilience.

CIMSPA wants the workforce to be awarded professional status and to gain professional recognition, which will need buy-in from the workforce, employers and education providers. As a chartered professional body, CIMSPA is permitted to grant professional status to the workforce and bestow post-nominal status which gives tangible value to individuals.

It is proposed that each occupational pathway will have four or five core levels of professional status, aligned with CIMSPA’s royal charter and statutes. For example, a personal trainer could start as a practitioner and continue up the ranks to an advanced chartered practitioner, known as a FCIMSPA.

You can download a copy of the CIMSPA strategy from the website.

HCM will be publishing industry responses to the new CIMSPA strategy – please let us know if you would like to submit a comment for publication by emailing [email protected].

CIMSPA strategy  Tara Dillon  National Training Academy 
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