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trAining skillsActive secures training match funding


Pressing home the sector’s crucial role


stephen studd is chief executive officer of SkillsActive


SkillsActive, the sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, has received more than £500,000 to help meet skills gaps in the playwork and fitness sectors. The Department for


T


he government’s decision last year to reduce funding for education and skills by 25 per cent shiſted the onus for skills investment to


employers and individuals. Now, employ- ers are expected to commit not just time for training, but more money too. Tey have incentivised this by creating opportunities for match funding from government. Now more than ever we need to ensure


we are influencing decision makers when it comes to public funding. Tis means taking advantage of opportunities that support the sector’s ability to grow and create jobs. One of our early successes has been the


result of our first bid to the Growth and Innovation Fund from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Tis success is a clear acknowledgment of two things; firstly, the active leisure sector has an important role to play in the economy – a real win for the sector and SkillsActive and the Fitness Industry Association (FIA). Secondly, the willingness of our employ-


ers to provide leadership for the skills agenda through SkillsActive and employer groups, such as the refreshed Sport and Fitness Employer Group (SAFE). But if we want to build on this, we have to con- sistently demonstrate this leadership. Our response – working with employers


and partners – is in line with the recom- mendations of the Skills Protocol Employer Leadership Group (SPELG) report. Tis includes SkillsActive establishing a new governance structure, reviewing business priorities, the way services are delivered, and realigning these with industry needs. Tis will culminate on 1 October with


the launch of a new look SkillsActive – a streamlined organisation with a single busi- ness plan and an employer-led board. We are confident these changes will enable us to better respond to employer needs and attract further funding as we present the sector to government as a key strategic partner for improving health, growing the economy and talking social inequality.


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Business, Innovation and Skills’ Growth and Innovation Fund has awarded £278,000 through the Joint Investment Programme strand, which is matched by employers. In total, the funding will


enable more than 1,300 fit- ness professionals to undergo training and become specialist instructors in order to better respond to clients’ needs. SkillsActive said professionals will be able


to gain behaviour change skills and customer service, which will enable them to deliver tai- lored interventions for inactive people.


Te support will help train professionals to offer tailored interventions Fitness Industry Association chief executive


David Stalker said: “Te fund offers employers the opportunity to receive up to 50 per cent funding for staff training in areas such as cus- tomer service, behaviour change and working with specialist populations.”


TAG launches new ‘online university’


TAG, the youth employ- ment charity working within the active leisure sector, has launched TAG University, an online resource designed to help exercise professionals develop core business skills. Developed in partnership


with business consultants Te Fit Biz Builders, the ser- vice will provide open access to foundation courses in core business disciplines such as finance/accounting, sales, marketing and operations. Developed specifically for


Te university aims to teach exercise professionals core business skills


young professionals, the web- site aims to help novices learn more about business disciplines including business plan- ning, the rudiments of marketing and an understanding the importance of cash flow. Fred Turok, founder of TAG said: “TAG


University will provide valuable advice and guidance. Tis online resource is designed to


be a gateway to gaining a deep understanding of the key business disciplines. “We know from our TAG experience at least


40 per cent of new market entrants harbour dreams of running their own fitness business – TAG University will help bridge that gap between dream and success.”


Big Pit launches new apprenticeship scheme


Big Pit: National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales, has announced that it is launch a new apprenticeship scheme in order to provide a new generation of staff for the attraction. Te new programme aims to attract aspiring young people looking to specialise in electrical


Read Leisure Opportunities online: www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/digital


or mechanical engineering and will be run in partnership with Gower College Swansea. For the majority of the last 20 years, the UK


mining sector has relied on men trained by the National Coal Board. However, operators are now seeking new entrants to the industry.


Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2011


image: dean mitchell/shutterstock.com


image: orange line media/shutterstock.com


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