ukactive first worked alongside Future Fit Training to produce Raising the Bar in 2014 – a process to identify the most pertinent skill gaps amongst frontline physical activity professionals, in order to inform future training needs and shape our sector’s workforce strategy. In the years since, workforce related issues have grown in importance within board rooms across the sector – with challenges of the quality of existing qualifications representing a risk to our strategic and commercial wellbeing. This risk has provoked a seismic sector-wide response, the likes of which we’ve rarely seen before.

As such I’m now pleased to share that this edition of Raising the Bar has been able to chart significant progress toward addressing this issue. As will be explored in more detail throughout this report, the physical activity sector’s Chartered Institute is now fully established as the authoritative body responsible for workforce development. Last year, CIMSPA successfully negotiated a £1.2m funding settlement with Sport England, providing them with the capacity and stimulus to deliver against the task set to them by employers, and have also undertaken a rigorous governance review that culminated in the appointment of Paralympic Champion Marc Woods as their Chair.

This core infrastructure has since enabled the organisation to publish a range of professional standards marking the start of meeting the demands of employers. It is now up to the industry to take these forward and apply them to apprenticeship and training delivery, requiring rapid mobilisation by awarding organisations, training providers and employers.

This underlines the hugely significant role that every organisation in the skills development landscape has to play in supporting the development of a fully equipped, professional workforce. Employers, training providers, awarding organisations and exercise professionals themselves must now hold themselves to the same higher, more robust standard put forward by employers and enacted by CIMSPA.

The urgency with which this progress must now be translated to the frontline is key. Not just in order to meet the immediate needs of the 9.7 million gym-goers in the UK, but to ensure the physical activity sector can take its place alongside other allied health professionals as a core delivery arm of the NHS’s preventative agenda, and of a government that has named getting more people, more active, more often, as a policy priority.

ukactive welcomes working alongside Future Fit Training to continue driving forward this agenda. What we have in our sector is a coalition of organisations aligned about the future vision for our sector, the workforce we need to deliver it and the impact it can have on the health and productivity of the nation. Now we have to accelerate its implementation.

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More People More Active More Often