SkillsActive offers information, advice and access to quality training for every stage of your career.
SkillsActive works on behalf of the sector to create and deliver the qualifications employers need and want.
We make sure employers can access the right qualifications, based on national standards designed by employers, so the workforce is properly trained and qualified.
Read more about the Qualifications and Credit Framework
There is an Apprenticeship in Active Leisure and Learning at level 2 and 3 in Northern Ireland.
You can download the Apprenticeship NI framework for Active Leisure and Learning, or visit the Department for Employment and Learning website for more information.
These qualifications are used to demonstrate competence to lead, instruct or coach a participant in an adventurous activity. Some of the qualifications commonly demanded by employers include mountain leader (summer), dinghy instructor and level 1 or 2 certificate in coaching paddlesport.
We recognise the importance of these qualifications and work closely with both NGBs and employers to ensure that qualifications meet sector needs. Regrettably, public funding of these qualifications is very limited and we are constantly working to tackle this situation.
Working closely with the British Activity Provider Association and the Institute for Outdoor Learning, we have developed an exciting new nationally accredited award - the level 2 Award in Introductory Work in the Outdoors. A slightly longer Certificate version is also now available. A summary document is available for the Award.
Ensuring that new staff reach their full potential as soon as possible is important to all organisations. To address this, a sector-wide induction programme for new staff has been developed for use as a set of good practice standards for all individual staff at an outdoor centre or organisation. Typically, the Award is completed in approx 4-6 months as a work-based qualification. However, employers pointed out that many seasonal staff were contracted for 8, 9 or even 10 months. To cater for this, a Certificate has also been developed to provide the opportunity for progression and further work-based learning and development.
A wide-range of training and other qualifications are valued by employers or have a notable influence on the sector. It would be the norm to see these supplemented by one or more NGB qualifications:
Recent government activity has seen a new focus on Apprenticeships. Learning ‘on the job’ suits many newcomers to the sector, although Apprenticeships are not without their problems. Much of the funding has been targeted at 16 to 19 year old learners, which has led to the sector missing out on its share because of its 18+ age stance.
Apprenticeships in the outdoors are available at two levels, and allow the learner to gain an outdoor-related competence qualification, underpinning knowledge qualification and a number of technical certificates (including a range of valued outdoor qualifications that can be achieved as a part of an outdoors apprenticeship).
Progressive accreditations (registered/ accredited/ leading) aimed at practitioners working in the outdoors, particularly in the education and development training fields. More information on these qualifications is available from the Institute for Outdoor Learning.
NVQ/SVQs are currently available in activity leadership and outdoor programmes and provide a stepped vocational route to competency. Other college based, outdoor focused qualifications exist. They are typically one or two years in duration. A good mixture of academic and practical studies (with 'proper' work placement if possible) is key.
An online search reveals a large number of outdoor-related degree courses. Those with a significant workplace-based element are held in higher regard by employers.
Foundation degrees are degree level qualifications designed with employers and combine academic study with workplace learning to equip people with the relevant knowledge, understanding and skills to improve performance and productivity in the workplace;
First aid awards are vital to validate many NGB qualifications.
Many outdoor centres rely on mini-buses for transporting participants and equipment to off-site venues such as rivers or crags. Current DVLA rules require many employees to undertake additional training and assessment to qualify as mini-bus drivers, with the associated cost implications for employers.
From September 2010 Functional Skills will be a mandatory part of the Apprenticeships Frameworks replacing Key Skills.
Functional skills will be highly valued by both employers and higher education providers for their impact on productivity, independence and achievement. Functional skills assessment requires learners to show that they can use skills confidently in a range of different situations (depending on the qualification level). Learners are expected to apply their skills in practical tasks and scenarios and to show that they can use problem-solving techniques effectively.
Functional skills are not graded: learners are awarded a pass or fail at one of five levels:
Further information and support in regards to functional skills can be found in this functional skills factsheet, under programmes on the LSIS Excellence Gateway website, the Functional Skills Support Programme website or alternatively, the Functional Skills Support Programme team is available to answer any related queries:
For more information use the form below to contact us about the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence.
The Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) is a sports performance programme. It provides a structured training and development route across a number of sports for talented young athletes (aged 16-19), who have a real chance of excelling in their sport; either by competing on the world stage or securing a professional contract. The programme length varies depending on the sport but can be from six months to 24 months.
The AASE programme reflects the range of skills, knowledge and performance criteria required in elite level sport. It is designed to directly measure the athlete’s ability to plan, apply and evaluate their development in the appropriate technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of their sport. It also addresses wider issues such as lifestyle, career development, communication and health and safety.
There are currently more than 2500 athletes on the AASE throughout England. More than 20 sports are currently involved in the AASE, including football, rugby union, rowing, boxing, tennis, swimming, and disability including a large number of Olympic and Commonwealth sports.
SkillsActive, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport and industry experts developed the programme in 2004 to ensure top young athletes seeking to perform at the highest level receive the support and training they need to succeed in elite sport. The programme has also been designed so that if an athlete falls short of their ultimate goal, they have the skills, knowledge and qualifications to pursue a secondary of supplementary career.
The Apprenticeship programme is fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency.
SkillsActive works with NGBs and Sport England to develop sport specific entry requirements, ensuring the most talented athletes are selected for the programme. To be eligible for selection you must be aged 16-19 and:
You must also be either:
You can complete AASE through one of two pathways:
This pathway can take between 18 months and 24 months to complete depending on your sport.
Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance
This competence qualification recognises excellence in a specific sport and is only available as part of the AASE programme. The NVQ Diploma covers the following performance and knowledge related topics:
These units cover some of the most important factors to becoming an elite athlete, and are vital for an athlete moving onto a secondary or supplementary career.
AND one of the following three qualifications:
This pathway takes between six months and 20 months to complete depending on your sport.
Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance & Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance
These qualifications recognise excellence in a specific sport and are only available as part of the AASE programme. The certificates cover the following performance and knowledge related topics:
Apprentices on both pathways are also required to complete the following components of the programme:
Functional Skills are the skills needed for success in education, training and day-to-day work such as writing, communication and basic maths. AASE athletes must complete this component if they have not achieved Grade C or above in GCSE Maths and/or English or Key Skills. Functional Skills carry UCAS points needed to go to university.
Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)
PLTS will be delivered, demonstrated, assessed and evidenced as part of the mandatory units of the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance/ Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance.
Employee Rights and Responsibilities
Apprentices learn about employee rights and responsibilities will be through the apprentice's induction programme and completion of the competence qualification.
To achieve the AASE NVQ diploma/ Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance, apprentices must produce a portfolio demonstrating what they have learnt about each of the units during their sporting pursuits. This could include a training log, a nutrition diary, video samples or a journal. You must also work with a qualified assessor to test your understanding and work-based performance.
Please note apprentices are able to complete additional learning through a part time programme for a maximum of 16 hours per week; this may include A-levels.
National Governing Bodies of sport deliver the AASE programme differently. Depending on the sport apprentices can either:
Once apprentices have successfully completed the AASE programme, they can progress down one of many routes:
The AASE programme recognises that not all apprentices will continue to compete at the highest level. A person’s sporting career can be cut short unexpectedly by injury, loss of form and financial constraints. The combination of academic theory and practical and vocational learning fully prepares athletes for the working world and/ or higher education. AASE equips apprentices to pursue a career in whichever direction they want to go - and provides them with expert advice to help get them there. The SkillsActiveCareers website showcases a number of career pathways and specific job information for those interested in a future career in sport and leisure. It also features video interviews and virtual tours of working environments. For quality assured sector information with fantastic technological resources visit SkillsActiveCareers
Secondary career The AASE programme recognises that not all apprentices will continue to compete at the highest level. A person’s sporting career can be cut short unexpectedly by injury, loss of form and financial constraints. The combination of academic theory and practical and vocational learning fully prepares athletes for the working world and/ or higher education. AASE equips apprentices to pursue a career in whichever direction they want to go - and provides them with expert advice to help get them there. The SkillsActiveCareers website showcases a number of career pathways and specific job information for those interested in a future career in sport and leisure. It also features video interviews and virtual tours of working environments. For quality assured sector information with fantastic technological resources visit SkillsActiveCareers.
Professional contract or full-time sports performance
Either with a professional club, through Lottery funding and the World Class Performance programme, or on a relevant ‘tour’
A wide choice of semi-professional or sports related careers
AASE athletes can access expert careers advice from NGBs, SkillsActive and careers advisors on what jobs are suitable for them. Sports related careers would include, Sports Coach, Support Officer in High Performance Environment.
Further / Higher Education
The NVQ Diploma/ Certificate in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance do not currently carry UCAS points. Other elements of the programme including Btec qualifications and functional skills do carry UCAS points. Examples of qualifications an AASE apprentice may go on to study include:
Apprentices can also progress into a variety of job roles within the active leisure and learning sector on completion of this advanced programme. Secondary career The AASE programme recognises that not all apprentices will continue to compete at the highest level. A person’s sporting career can be cut short unexpectedly by injury, loss of form and financial constraints. The combination of academic theory and practical and vocational learning fully prepares athletes for the working world and/ or higher education. AASE equips apprentices to pursue a career in whichever direction they want to go - and provides them with expert advice to help get them there. The SkillsActiveCareers website showcases a number of career pathways and specific job information for those interested in a future career in sport and leisure. It also features video interviews and virtual tours of working environments. For quality assured sector information with fantastic technological resources visit www.skillsactive.com/careers
AASE alumni apprentices have achieved huge success in the sporting arena, including Olympic and Paralympic medals, Commonwealth medals and professional contracts.
Past AASE athletes include:
The November 2009 Apprenticeship Act states that all apprentices need to be employed and earning the national minimum wage from day one of starting on their Apprenticeship programme. However, following negotiations with Government, Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Sports are exempt from mandatory employment.
Once you have completed the AASE, you can for your certificate of completion. Please ensure you chose the right form based on the date you completed the programme.
AASE Certification Form pre 14th April 2011 (for apprentices completing their programme before 14th April 2011)
AASE Certification Form pre 14th April 2011 (for apprentices completing their programme after 14th April 2011)
National occupational standards (NOS) form the basis of qualifications from Apprenticeships and foundation degrees, to vocational qualifications and training programmes.
The standards also help define job roles, measure staff performance and identify and develop routes for progression and professional development.
We work together with employers, partner organisations and experts to develop national occupational standards across the Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being Sector. To find out more about the use of standards in the workplace, we have produced a National Occupational Standards manual.
National occupational standards are produced as a suite of units for each occupational area. The unit structure allows for easy identification of the relevant NOS for a particular role.
National occupational standards have been developed for the majority of industrial and occupational sectors in the UK. There are NOS that have been developed which focus specifically on key generic areas of competence including administration, management and leadership, and enterprise.
Browse the standards available for the active leisure, learning and well-being sector:
We constantly review and update our NOS suites to ensure that they remain current with the ever changing work of the industry. We need assistance from those out in the sector to help us shape these NOS projects and ensure that they reflect best working practices. Current NOS projects include
Through our license with UKCES we manage the Hair and Beauty NOS in partnership with Habia, the sector body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa sector.
SkillsActive can help you reduce your costs and train more people by identifying which of your staff could be eligible for funded training. The Funding Eligibility Service is a simple, effective way to improve your business performance by making the most of available funding.
Key features include:
The Funding Eligibility Service involves staff completing a simple online form which has been designed to enable all employers, regardless of size or location, to identify who in their organisation can receive funding for undertaking a qualification. Eligibility is based on age and existing qualifications** – information that our form can help you find with very little extra effort.
The Service includes analysis of the level of funded training each of your staff members can access and support to organise this training through one of our approved training providers, so that your organisation does not spend unnecessary time on administration.
This funding is drawn down through Apprenticeship programmes, but this does not limit the training your staff can receive. Qualifications within this could include optional units covering skills such as customer service, business administration and team leading, as well as more focused areas including training as a Fitness Instructor, Coach or Personal Trainer.
The budget for the 2011/12 academic year has increased by £72m to over £1,400m of funding for Apprenticeships – discover if this could be relevant to your staff.
Unsure how an apprentice could fit into your business?
SkillsActive will help you understand which Apprenticeship options are best for your business and record your choices. We work to combine the choices of many different organisations so that we can get your staff’s funded training started as soon as possible with an approved training provider.
The Funding Eligibility Service is a feature of the support packages available to SkillsActive employer partners.
The Funding Eligibility Service is also a key benefit of working with SkillsActive’s Group Training Association (GTA) networks.
Do you understand what an Apprenticeship entails?
Please note: This service is free to SkillsActive employer partners and members of our Group Training Association (GTA) networks – our account managers can tell you more about how SkillsActive can support your business and the benefits of working with us.
*Regional programmes and bursaries are occasionally available; however, the Apprenticeship framework is one of the main ways for individuals to draw down funding for training.
** Eligibility is based upon a number of criteria that relate to an individual’s residency, age and prior qualifications. They also need to work at least 16 hours a week in a relevant job role and be paid the national minimum wage for apprentices. Read more facts about Apprenticeships.
Apprentices will get to develop skills in facility operations and promoting sport and active leisure activities in the community with an NVQ in Leisure Centre Operations which is available at Level 2
This qualification covers essential areas like health and safety and teamwork. Apprentices can also demonstrate the skills that matter to their specific role, anything from customer care to swimming pool maintenance.
Who are they for?
This qualification is for those responsible for facility operations in the sports and recreation industry or promoting sport and active leisure activities in the community. You do not need any prior qualifications to take this NVQ.
Why choose the National Skill Academy?
The National Skills Academy has access to many training providers across the UK. Once we fully understand what you wish to gain from this apprenticeship, the National Skills Academy will put you in touch with an approved training provider, who will work closely with you to deliver the necessary training and ensure the programme meets your requirements.