James Clack, Client Services Manager, Active IQ

‘Collaboration is key’ is a well-worn phrase but, like many clichés, it happens to be true.  The leisure industry is alive with collaborations, partnerships, associations…. call them what you will.  As Client Services Manager at a sector-leading awarding organisation, it’s no surprise I spend much of my day working with experts in the industry pooling resources and sharing best practice. The leisure sector is evolving quickly with service providers and their consumers equally hungry for the latest knowledge and insight to further their game.

I aim to keep up with trends and research and stay alert to consumer demand, industry legislation and the wider health and wellness agenda.  It’s a full-time job in itself which is why I look to a raft of experts in a variety of fields to support our work and resources.  Take the medical field for example.  We can’t possibly keep up with the stream of research and medical findings – nor can we revise our qualifications as quickly as changes occur.  But through working closely with our Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Dane Vishnubala, we stay up-to-date: he disseminates the key information ready for us to share through communications and resources to our centres, training providers and learners.

As any good training provider will tell you, qualifications are the beginning of the journey, not the destination, the point which reveals potential pathways.  While our primary role is to design, quality assure and award qualifications, people increasingly look to us to provide greater access to a wide range of resources to strengthen their skillset and broaden their knowledge.

Our Skills Hub resource is the ‘home’ for much of this extra material.  Online, accessible 24-7 and split into discrete sections for ease-of-access, it is growing in stature.  As you’d expect, CPD is the most popular section with the majority of users accessing materials and content online.

What you may NOT expect is the high demand for access to associated skills as diverse as setting up your business to learning Taxonomy, funding and policy to business and marketing.    Clearly not all these areas are our forte – which is why we work in collaboration with professionals who can bring much more to the table.

We already have Beej Kaczmarczyk from e-Memoir sharing insights on all things funding and policy and coming on board soon are Ben Coomber and Tom Bainbridge from BTN Academy demystifying nutrition. Next, we have an ex-Ofsted inspector giving guidance on how to prep for an Ofsted inspection.

We’re actively looking to work with more individuals and businesses who have something to offer.  Think broadly and think widely – we’re looking for fresh ideas, new concepts and emerging opportunities to deliver via webinar, downloadable resources and podcasts.

We want to engage with anyone who feels passionate enough about something to discuss and debate it.  Our new project – working title 90:3 – will comprise a 90-second video supported by three slides presented by experts who want to give people a snapshot of their insight.  We’re looking for bright new influencers and established practitioners, industry disruptors and familiar faces.

Keeping current through collaborations is the aim: connecting with as many industry leaders and influencers as possible to keep the discussion open and flowing.  This way, the whole industry learns and gains.  Don’t be shy – what is it you want to share?