We must act NOW – deadline for the IFA occupational maps consultation is fast approaching

We must act NOW – deadline for the IFA occupational maps consultation is fast approaching back to list

23 January 2018

By Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ

The Institute for Apprenticeships (which will become the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in Autumn 2018) will be responsible for the management and oversight of T Levels. The content design and development of T Levels is underway at DfE and T Level panels are in place: things are certainly moving and making progress.

The rationale is fine, but routes so far specified are fundamentally flawed with no clear provision of sport, physical activity or wellness pathways.  In today’s climate when people young and old desperately need motivation, guidance and support in physical activity for health reasons, this simply cannot be allowed to be overlooked.

I was astonished to learn that sport and physical activity didn’t even exist as a route for T Levels when the 15 routes were first published and now I’m disheartened to see no-one connected to sport or physical activity on the Health and Science T Level panel. This is simply unacceptable – for society, not just our sector.  We MUST act to redress this massive oversight.

I’m delighted to see CIMSPA step in regarding the proposed Community Exercise, Fitness and Health pathway and its three clusters and agree that:

·       The Health & Science draft occupational map does not align to the map, occupations and progression opportunities already in development for the sector (by CIMSPA) and which are now becoming well understood by the sector’s employers.

·       The ‘Exercise, Fitness and Health Assistant’ role appears to be an apprenticeship-only cluster, with ‘Exercise, Fitness & Health Specialist’ and ‘Exercise, Fitness & Health Professional’ apparently available for T Levels.  This seriously limits opportunities for individuals entering our sector via the FE route.

·       Community Exercise, Fitness & Health as a pathway title doesn’t accurately reflect the listed roles (‘Health, Science & Physical Activity’ would be more appropriate as not all roles are community based).

Worryingly ‘sport’ is notably absent – it needs to be included e.g. Sport & Physical Activity.  There is also no reference to wellness occupations (e.g. Yoga, Pilates) which are increasingly in demand by consumers: instructors are needed!   The Sport and Physical Activity arena needs a technical education route to bring it on par with the academic route, enabling us to professionalise our industry and accurately reflect the skills needed to fulfil the diverse range of occupations that are available. 

There is confusion between occupations and apprenticeship standards (e.g. Leisure Team Member is an apprenticeship standard and four occupations sit within it, including Gym Instructor, Recreation Assistant, Swimming Teacher and Lifeguard).  Oddly, Leisure Duty Manager sits within the Business & Administration occupational map and is therefore separated from all other physical activity related occupations: all the physical activity related roles should sit within the same route to enable clear progression.

T Levels are going to happen whether we like it or not: as a sector, collectively we need to shape them to meet our needs. This is not a time to sit back and hope someone else calls for the changes we need. We have the opportunity to respond to the T Level Programme Consultation and the Occupational Maps Survey Consultation by February 8, 2018. Here are the links – please act now to safeguard our sector’s future.

Click here to respond to the IFA consultation


Click here to respond to the consultation on the implementation of T Level Programmes

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