Workforce development takes centre stage at ukactive Summit

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14 November 2014

Workforce development takes centre stage at ukactive Summit

The ukactive National Summit today played host to a landmark debate around the role of workforce development in meeting the needs and requirements of a changing sector.

The debate was attended by over 100 delegates in the Congress Centre in London and was described by its Chair Stephen Wilson, Public Affairs Director for ukactive as 'the first stage' of a process which would 're-think, re-assess, and re-invigorate' training and skills development in the leisure sector.

The session discussed the recent kick-start of the Trailblazer project, which will see employers shape apprenticeship standards over the coming years.

In light of the sector's burgeoning role as an integral part of preventative health, CIMSPA's interim CEO Tara Dillon, who was on the panel, said there was 'a clear need to establish the same credibility for Exercise Professionals that is shared by other Chartered Professions in order to professionalise the sector and fulfil its role as the 'cornerstone of a preventative health system'.

Dillon said there was a need for the 'traditional career ladder of the exercise professional' to evolve to match the recent development in areas such as public health, children's physical activity and the inactivity pandemic.

Rob Johnson, CEO of training provider FutureFit, who sponsored the session, said that 'employers feel that there has been a decline in the standard of training delivered to key roles within the sector.'

"We need employers working together with training providers to understand what is required to improve the level of training provision across the sector," he said.

Mr Johnson also noted that Futurefit had undergone a 'significant consultation' with employers in the sector to understand the skills gaps that exist within key job descriptors, and that 'the standard of assessments across this area must be improved in line with the expectations of employers,' and that Futurefit would be commissioning a report to look in to how this area could be refined.

Professor Greg Whyte OBE, who chairs ukactive's Research Institute said:

"We need to look at other professions to see how the organise and streamline their professional development, we should learn lessons from the Chartered Society of Psychology that has a single endorsement process, entry point and parameters of practice for their roles"

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