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The Sport and Physical Activity Sector Release First Local Skills Plan for Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland

Posted: 24th April 2024 - 5:00pm

Loughborough College are proud to have worked alongside the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and other local employers, education providers, the health sector and employability-focused organisations to implement a local skills plan for sport and physical activity in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland.

The plan identifies key skills improvements, workforce challenges and priorities for local sport and physical activity, as well as recommendations and actions to shape future work.

Developed by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Skills Accountability Board, the sport and physical activity local skills plan aims to support the wider Local Skills Improvement Plan for that area.

Sport and physical activity provides an estimated £1.4 billion in social value to Leicester and Leicestershire annually, due to the impact on community cohesion, health and wellbeing, educational attainment, and crime reduction.

The plan has three key recommendations: to recruit, train, support and retain a representative and inclusive workforce, to support education establishments working with local employers, and to adopt a data-led approach to sector workforce development.

As outlined in the recently released 'Releasing the Power of our Profession' strategy, interventions such as the Local Skills Plans will deliver the individual and collective recognition that our sector workforce needs and deserves and will position our sector exactly where it needs to be to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our nation.

Tara Dillon, CIMSPA CEO said: “This is the first local skills plan for sport and physical activity of many across the country.

It has never been more important for people to be physically active, and sport and physical activity provision must reflect the local needs of participants, employers, deployers and of course, our workforce.

Our sector professionals can and already have had such a significant impact on the nation’s health and wellbeing. Now, we must work together and adopt a collaborative, place-based approach so that we can develop a highly skilled and well-equipped workforce to support our local people and health services even further with prevention, rehabilitation, and recovery.

We are so pleased to be working collectively with CIMSPA and the incredible organisations that have contributed towards the creation of the Local Skills Plans. They will set out a clear roadmap to provide the right people with the right skills and training to drive this forward and support local health strategies.”

After embedding a Skills Hub Manager into local regions nationally, CIMSPA have been working with key stakeholders in local areas to establish Local Skills Accountability Boards with the main outcome being to understand local priority within their given county.

For Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, sport and physical activity is recognised as a priority sector, as mentioned in the East Midlands Chambers’ 2023 Local Skills Improvement Plan. This sector local skills plan will align with other work across the region, such as wider skills plans, sector growth plans and economic profiles.

Heather Clarke, Acting Principal and CEO at Loughborough College said: “Loughborough College is delighted to be a partner in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Skills Plan. In collaboration with Active Together and CIMSPA, we are not only cultivating and nurturing talent but also creating pathways to promise career opportunities. We are extremely proud to be part of the foundation for the next generation of athletes, coaches, and sports professionals.”

John Byrne, Active Partnership Director at Active Together (formerly Leicestershire and Rutland Sport) said: “Active Together are pleased to have played a key part in bringing the local sector together and supporting the local sector skills plan for the next three years. Sport and physical activity plays a distinctive role in the area’s identity.

We hope that this plan will drive local collaborative work to achieve the vision for a more inclusive workforce which can make physical activity more accessible for the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland.”

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy and Insight at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire) said:

“The sport and physical activity sector is such an important component of the Leicester and Leicestershire economy, which is why it has been one of the primary areas of focus within the Local Skills Improvement Plan here. This plan, led by CIMSPA, gives fantastic insight into the skills requirements of those businesses that operate here and will help ensure we can maximise the sector’s contribution to the local economy and supporting our people into great, rewarding careers.”

Kevin Routledge, Chairman of Leicester Riders said:

“Sport, like most other sectors, needs skilled staff to deliver our many overlapping objects in an ever more competitive world, being reinvented through the increasing use of technology. Making sure our partners in the education sector understand those evolving needs with regards to our businesses, is critical to the success of sport in the UK.”

Access the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Skills Plan for sport and physical activity here.