SkillsActive’s role is to improve the quality and range of play opportunities for children and young people through the professional development of the playwork workforce across the UK – providing those with jobs working with children with training and development resources and opportunities.
Playworker jobs with children can be found in a range of settings, including:
Play rangers work with children in parks and open spaces and, in some areas, playworkers can be found in schools.
Our vision is "A skilled, qualified and developing play workforce, whose practice is underpinned by the Playwork Principles, who provide high quality, accessible play opportunities for children and young people". Find out more about our strategy for 2011 - 2016.
We offer a coordinated voice for the ‘working with children’ sector, which is reflected in a coherent and research based demand for skills, and we work with training providers to meet the skills and training needs of the sector.
Professional, well-trained playworkers are a key part of the children’s workforce and we work to influence education and skills policies across the four nations, ensuring their relevance to the sector. We also work to advise government on how to prioritise its funding to help those with jobs working with children.
SkillsActive is supporting Play England's Love Outdoor Play campaign which is calling on everyone to Love Outdoor Play in whatever way they can. This could be as simple as taking five minutes to map their local play space on the online map, signing up to regularly give money, time or skills to a local play project, or finding out about local – or national – volunteering opportunities to help more children play outside more often.
You can show that you Love Outdoor Play now by:
Love Outdoor Play was launched by The Geography Collective in 2010 to increase and improve outdoor play. Play England now leads the campaign with a new focus to reach the original aim – making sure more children can play out more often by increasing social action for children's play.
The sector is usually defined by:
Photo courtesy MLTE/Andy Say
The sector has long been seen as having three primary sub-sectors:
It has been acknowledged that this is a starting point, and that other significant activities can be added to the mix. Expeditions, adventure tourism, adventure therapy and bushcraft have all seen substantial growth over the years.
Although 'divisions' do exist, the boundaries are very indistinct and in many cases substantially overlap. The imprecise boundary between sport and the outdoors is one example of this. Historically, the outdoors has been seen to be non-competitive activity.
Many different types of organisations operate in the sector (for example, commercial, public and not for profit) and the sector offers a diverse range of career pathways. Often, a person working in the sector will go from one type of outdoors provision to another as their experience, skills and qualifications develop.
The outdoors can deliver on a number of key national issues including:
This powerfully highlights the worth of the outdoors to new participants, customers and those within the legislatures across the UK. SkillsActive has produced a downloadable guide to the outdoors sector – The UK Outdoor Sector: A Guide.
The focus for SkillsActive is the outdoors sector and those organisations and individuals which provide a service to others in an outdoors context. Of course many millions of individuals are active in the outdoors on a personal basis as well.
SkillsActive’s work in sport covers a variety of training and funding, from helping people find the right training to get jobs in sports to providing help and advice for people looking to find funding for sports clubs and we deal with all levels of sport, from grass-roots up to high-performance.
To help people find training and jobs in sports, we work closely with recognised training providers to ensure the sports sector has suitably qualified employees and volunteers. We can also help with finding sources of sports funding to help with staff development and training all of which supports the delivery of sports activities and helps us become a fitter, healthier nation.
Browse our sports webpages to find out more about sports training, sports funding, National Occupational Standards (NOS) and SkillsActive’s work with groups within the sports industry.
A qualified and experienced finance, management and marketing professional and a chartered director, Peter is an accomplished, accredited coach and organisational consultant, advisor and non-executive director in charities, not for profit, public and private sector organisations, utilising his background in finance, governance and marketing to good effect.
He holds several Ministerial Appointments and senior positions in sports administration. Previously Chairman of Sport England North-East he is a board member of Sport England (chairing the Audit, Risk and Governance Committee and a member of the Finance Committee), Sport England's Regional Champion for Community Sport in the North East , a director of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (whose Audit and Risk Committee he chairs), an independent member of UK Sport's Audit Committee, a director of Coachwise Ltd., (the trading subsidiary of sports coach UK) and a trustee of the British Sports Trust which trades as Sports Leaders UK (chairing the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee). He is also a lay member of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and a trustee of Tees Valley Community Foundation.
Peter retired as a Director and Chief Executive of Darlington Building Society in 2009 after 17 years in post and previously general and senior management in financial firms in a career of over 32 years in retail and commercial finance.
Peter is a keen runner and running coach, competing weekly at club level at all distances from 5k up to and including marathon.
Suki Kalirai has 25 years experience operation at the highest level in business. In 2000 he set up Spa and Salon International and founded both re-aqua and Dove Spa. By the end of 2007 when he moved his attention to the Carlton Institute, SSI had grown to 44 across three countries. Suki runs QiSpa and The Carlton Institute. He is also chair of the Spa Business Association (the trade association for major UK spa and salon operators), deputy chair of Habia (the UK government standard setting body for spa, hair and beauty) as well as sitting on the SkillsActive board. Suki is currently the Vice Chair.
Head of Lifelong Learning, Culture and Leisure – Neath and Port Talbot Council
Russell was nominated by the Sports Council for Wales Chief Leisure Officer's group to sit on the SkillsActive Board. His department in Neath and Port Talbot runs the NPTC Training/Learning Programme for the Sector, and he was formerly Operational Manager for Sport and Recreation at Cardiff County Council.
Chairman FIA, LA Fitness
Fred started his career as a Physical Education teacher, becoming Head of PE before moving into the health and fitness club industry. His first role was to be tasked with the responsibility of building and then running the second David Lloyd club which he did for 5 years. He then re mortgaged his house to raise enough money to buy his first health and fitness club in 1990.
Fred's own company gradually expanded and is now one of the leading chains in the industry, LA Fitness. The company listed on the stock exchange in 1996. In 15 years Fred has built up a chain of clubs and is a director at the Fitness Industry Association (FIA). The company recently privatised through a management buyout supported by the private equity firm Mid Ocean Partners. Fred is now Chairman of this 87 strong club chain.
Fred gets up early to work out every morning before he starts work. He grew up in Cape Town where his parents were jailed for being ANC members in 1964 fighting against the apartheid movement. He moved to the UK in 1967.
Initially trained as a teacher specialising in Physical Education, Di pursed a career in the Leisure Industry for 17 years culminating as a Chief Officer for Leisure in Wiltshire. Di then worked as a freelance consultant before joining the Audit Commission as an Inspector for the newly formed Best Vale Inspection Service and continued to work for them as a consultant.
Di is the Chief Executive of the Royal Life Saving Society UK, a post she has held for over 6 years. RLSS is the UK's premier Education and Training Skills organisation for Water Safety, Aquatic Supervision and Drowning Prevention. RLSS UK is the Governing Body for Lifesaving Sport and Lead Industry Body for training Lifeguards, setting standards and providing guidance and advice on aquatic safety.
She is involved with the World body for Lifesaving and Chairs the Equity and Diversity Committee for the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) and the Management and Administration Commission for ILS Europe.
Di is also a Trustee and Director of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation and has during that time enjoyed seeing the organisation develop and flourish into a bold influential and acknowledged voice for women and girls sport and physical activity in the UK. Di is passionate about training and development and is delighted to join the Board as the National Governing Body representative.
Jim Rose was appointed Director of Leisure Services, Lisburn Borough Council in February 2002. A native of Scotland with extensive experience in the sport and leisure industry, having previously worked for Edinburgh City Council, Loughborough University and as Director of Leisure Services at Castlereagh Borough Council.
Responsible for all Council-related leisure and community services including the management of the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Island Arts Centre and the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum.
Past Chairman and current Secretary of the Northern Ireland Chief Leisure Officers' Association.
Trustee of Disability Sport Northern Ireland.
Mark Allman has 20 years experience of working in the leisure sector and has been head of sport and active recreation for Leeds City Council for the past 10 years. His professional career started with Rank Leisure and then moved into local authority sector overseeing a large range of leisure disciplines including sport, arts and play development. He sits on the Chief Leisure Executive Committee, and has been involved with SPELG from its inception. A keen follower (and occasional participant) of sport he is an avid Liverpool FC fan and a Trustee for the Leeds Rugby Foundation.
Julie Amies has worked in the sport and leisure industry for over 25 years, in the private sector, for a non departmental public body and local government. She now heads up the sports development service for Hampshire County Council and in the last 10 years has established and served as partnership director to Sport Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, one of 49 County Sports Partnerships in England.
Angela Brown has 35 years experience of working in the children and adult care sector. Trained as a teacher and social worker she lectured in both Further and Higher Education before setting up her own company in 1999. In 2006 she set up a further community interest company employing the people she had trained. This interest in training, employment and business has led to a doctoral thesis on workforce development modelling for children and adult services, an area she is passionate about. Angela chairs England Playwork Education Training Council, represents England on the UK PETC, is a UK ambassador for Enterprise and represents Childcare on an employers training group in the North East.
Adrian Christy is the Chief Executive of Badminton England. Having worked in local authority Sport Development units and The National Coaching Foundation for several years, Adrian moved into National Governing Bodies, first with the Lawn Tennis Association and then onto England Squash as director of development and competition. In 2006 he was appointed chief executive of Badminton England. His aim is to grow all aspects of the organisation including commercial opportunities, participation, coaching and competition with the ultimate ambition to stand on the Olympic Podium.
Mark Lavington is the HR Projects Manager for PGL. Mark spent several years working as a science teacher before spending the last 25 years in the Outdoor Sector in roles including HR Manager, Training Manager, Activity Centre Manager and Activity Instructor. He is the chair of the SkillsActive Outdoor Employers Group, sits on the English Outdoor Council and is a committee member of the British Activity Providers Association.
Mark Sesnan is managing director of (GLL) Greenwich Leisure Limited a pioneering worker-owned, charitable leisure social enterprise that currently operates all the public leisure centres in the five Olympic Host Boroughs. GLL employs around 4,000 people operating 70 leisure centres in partnership with 14 Boroughs and is aiming to be a key Social Enterprise player in the delivery of the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and more importantly in the Legacy for East London thereafter.
SkillsActive - 20/10/11
A SkillsActive officer will welcome the world to London next year after being selected as a London Ambassador for the 2012 Games.
SkillsActive development officer for volunteering, Miriam Farley, will volunteer for six days during the Games at London’s Oxford Street. She will provide advice to people from all walks of life; from sports fans desperate to get to the Olympic Stadium, to families looking for a budget bite to eat.
SkillsActive interim chief executive Suki Kalirai says the ambassador role is a natural extension of Miriam’s work with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Miriam administered the Personal Best programme, which provided long term unemployed people with employability training and the chance to volunteer at the Games,” Suki says. “Miriam is a passionate Londoner and, of course, a passionate sports supporter. I can’t imagine a better person to welcome people to the Games.”
Miriam, 26, from Bushey in North London, was selected as an ambassador after attending an interview in June where she was tested on her confidence, communication skills and, of course, her local knowledge.
Miriam says: “I’m so excited to be part of the Games and have the opportunity to welcome the world to London. It’s an awesome city and I want to ensure everyone who visits next summer gets a friendly welcome and has a super time.”
Her top London tip? “Avoid the crowds by walking everywhere you can. That’s the best way to get to know the city and enjoy our beautiful parks and landmarks.”
Thank you for your enquiry, one of our team will be in touch with you shortly.
SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council for active leisure and learning and is our parent company. SkillsActive works with all five sub-sectors of the sports and active leisure industry to increase the demand, quality and availability of skills provision across the UK.
SkillsActive's nationwide body of staff are experts in their field. They provide employers, training providers, policy makers and key organisations with information and advice on skills development and training for the sector.
Taking its lead from employers and backed by the government, the SkillsActive vision is to ensure that the importance of skills needs are communicated and addressed, ensuring workforce development policies really get to the heart of what the active leisure and learning sector needs.
To find out more, visit the SkillsActive website.
The SkillsActive Group welcomes today’s report by leading employers in the sport and active leisure industry, which outlines a number of ‘asks’ of Government, the newly launched Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), and the SkillsActive Group.
Launching today at the House of Commons with Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes, is the Skills Protocol Employer Leadership Group (SPELG) in Physical Activity, Sport and Active Leisure report. It outlines the future skills requirements of the industry if it is to continue to grow and have a direct impact on wider issues including the health and wellbeing of the nation.
Positioned in the report as a key influencer and driver of change, the SkillsActive Group was happy to support its development and is delighted that the report is aligned with the Group’s objectives.
John Hayes said: “I welcome the ambition and leadership that the Skills Protocol Employer Leadership Group has shown in preparing this report for the Sport and Leisure industry. I want to see more employers working together to ensure that the sector's evolving skills needs are effectively met.”
The SkillsActive Group CEO Stephen Studd commented: “The role of the SkillsActive Group is to work with the industry to ensure it has the professionally trained and qualified staff it needs to deliver the increases in active participation that will ensure its on-going success and continual growth.
“This report demonstrates leadership from employers based on the belief that to fulfil its potential and have an impact, a growth strategy must be implemented based on the professionalisation of its workforce. SkillsActive’s mission for more people, better skilled, better qualified lies at the heart of this drive and we are happy to respond to the challenge from the employers to implement the protocol.”
The SkillsActive Group will now work with key industry partners to ensure all recommendations outlined in the report are delivered.
SPELG aims to achieve the following over the next 4 years:
The SPELG launch will commence at 4pm at House of Commons. To find out more about SPELG, its recommendations and SkillsActive’s response please visit www.skillsactive.com
01628 507 661
Training providers with existing contacts through the National Skills Academy continue to have opportunities to promote their great quality training through our new and improved website.
If your company has a current contract, you can view your new webpage in our training provider catalogue, offering a new way to showcase the full range of courses that you offer all on one central page. These pages will be further developed over the coming months as we continue to improve the website and the functions it can offer.
As SkillsActive and the National Skills Academy have become one onganisation, we are also working towards one single offer to training providers. This offer will be rooted in SkillsActive endorsement, which offers training providers the ability to endorse courses as meeting industry standards and offer CPD points for their training.
SkillsActive’s successful bid to establish England’s first ever Group Training Association (GTA) for the sector offers further opportunities for approved providers of the National Skills Academy.
This GTA will bring together more employers looking for quality training for their staff. Providers with a National Skills Academy contract will have priority for any opportunities that arise within their field.
Playwork's profile amongst staff, according to the service's divisional community development manager.
The AWS provides a professional and confidential welfare support service for servicemen and women and their families. The AWS's Community Support team provides learning and personal development opportunities through a range of planned programmes, activities and experiences for military personnel and their families including pre-school groups, after-school clubs and holiday provision.
Divisional community development manager Liz Harford is responsible for overseeing training for the 120 play, youth and community workers working across military bases in Britain, Brunei and Germany.
Liz says the AWS had always carried out playwork activity as part of its youth and community provision, but it hadn't made the leap to recognising it with separate skills training.
"We realised there was a natural qualification gap within our organisation."
Knowing SkillsActive was the sector skills council for playwork, Liz contacted the Midlands Playwork strategy manager who visited the barracks in Shrewsbury in March 2010. The two discussed the service AWS was providing and possible Playwork training options for the AWS workforce.
Liz said: "We discussed qualifying our staff at Level 2 in Playwork, but then decided to train them at level 3 (NVQ or the transitional award) because all of them were experienced and capable of achieving a qualification at this level,"
The Playwork strategy manager also recommended a reliable training provider from SkillsActive's approved provider network, and brokered training subsidies for 45 staff using funding supplied through the level 3 playwork initiative administered by Children's' Workforce Development Council (this funding programme is no longer available).
Liz said 45 staff will have completed their Level 3 NVQ Playwork by the end of March 2011. Following the success of this initiative, SkillsActive and AWS are now working together to source future funded opportunities for AWS learners undertaking a qualification.
"Working in partnership with SkillsActive has saved the AWS £78,000 in training costs. This can now be redirected to developing the service and providing sufficient materials for staff, families and children and young people."
Liz said SkillsActive has helped the AWS professionalise its playwork workforce, which directly benefitted their customers - our military's children.
"Our staff now recognise the difference between Playwork and youth work and understand the value of playwork skills. They are therefore providing a better service for children and young people.
"Without the knowledge and expertise of Skills Active help we wouldn't have been able to upskill our workforce in play. I'd recommend any individual or organisation contact SkillsActive for their playwork training needs."