Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does NOS stand for?

NOS is an abbreviation for National Occupational Standards.

2. What are NOS?

A description of what an individual needs to do, know, and understand in order to competently carry out a particular job or function

  • National Occupational Standards (NOS) are statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.
  • NOS are National because they can be used in every part of the UK where the functions are carried out.
  • NOS are Occupational because they describe the performance required of an individual when carrying out functions in the workplace i.e. in their occupation (as a plumber, police officer, production engineer etc.)
  • NOS are Standards because they are statements of effective performance which have been agreed by a representative sample of employers and other key stakeholders and approved by the UK NOS Panel
  • NOS are benchmarks of good practice.
  • NOS are not regulation.

3. Are there any charges for us to use NOS?

No, once NOS are developed they are freely available on the NOS database.

4. What was the rationale to the development of the NOS?

This was originally detailed in the open letter dated 23 September 2016.

The development of the NOS for Yoga Practice is primarily being driven by the need to ensure participant safety. All yoga practitioners irrelevant of the type of yoga delivered/practiced must have a fundamental understanding of how to maintain the health, welfare and security of themselves and their participants.

The initial approach for the development of a set of NOS for yoga teachers was driven by several aspects.

  • Request from the sector to set a benchmark for the teaching of yoga.
  • Confusion of insurance providers regarding the standards for Yoga Practice and what could be insured.
  • Confusion from training providers regarding the correct qualification required by the sector.
  • Need for standards that set a minimum level of experience/skills that ensure safe practice in teaching yoga, preventing the risk of injury to participants.
  • Request for consistency of standards for teaching Hatha yoga, across the UK to provide a clear benchmark for entry on to the SkillsActive Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs.)
  • The Yoga Practice NOS should have been part of the Exercise and Fitness NOS review in 2012-14, as a Pilates NOS is included, but not yoga - please see article REPs and NOS. This inclusion is belated, due to complexities within the sector. As yoga held a category on the REPs register but no underpinning NOS, the development of the Yoga Practice NOS has been a priority for SkillsActive since this date.

5. How are the NOS funded?

Funding for the development of NOS can come from a number of sources. In the past, funding has been secured through an open tendering process which is contracted with the devolved national Government Office via Skills Development Scotland (SDS) or previously UKCES. As funding is limited due to devolved nation budget restrictions, private funding can be sourced to complete priority NOS development work. A robust rationale must be completed for all NOS activity, which must be agreed by the UK NOS panel before any work can commence on the development of the NOS.

6. What funding is being used for the development of the NOS?

The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) has kindly provided £20,000 of funding towards the development of the NOS.

7. Is the BWY in the lead regarding the development of the NOS?

No - the BWY have provided the funding to complete the NOS project only. The NOS review must be completed through a strict quality assurance process, which is overseen by a UK NOS panel – please see question 16 regarding the NOS quality assurance process.

8. Are SkillsActive still involved with REPs?

SkillsActive have no involvement in REPs. On the 31 August 2016, REPs was completely taken over by Coachwise. REPs is owned by UK Coaching and operated by Coachwise Limited.

9. What is the role of SkillsActive within the NOS development process?

SkillsActive facilitates the NOS development and submission process in accordance with NOS quality criteria. Steering Group (SG) members and Expert Working Group (EWG) members provided the industry expertise - please see the July consultation presentation for details of Steering Group and Expert Working Group members.

10. What activity has been completed?

Timeline of activity

Date Activity
Oct - 2014 SA spoke at the OM Yoga show
2012-14 Exercise and Fitness National Occupational Standards
May - 2015 BWY reported concerns regarding REPs criteria
2015/16 SkillsActive placed a request to develop Yoga NOS –
funding application rejected from UKCES and Nick Boles, the Skills Minister
at that time
July 2016
BWY approached SkillsActive to fund the development of the
NOS in accordance with the NOS quality criteria
Oct 2016
Desk research /Functional Mapping review started
Open stakeholder briefing meeting London
27/10/16 Part A - agreement of the NOS review approved by governmentrepresentatives in all four nations
Nov 2016 NOS actionplans developed
16/01/17 EWG meeting 1
20/02/17 EWGmeeting 2
17/05/17 Steering Group meeting
22/05/17 - 31/07/17 Consultation Draft NOS
Industry Forum 1 – Wales (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 2 - Scotland (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 3 – Northern Ireland (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 4 – England (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 5 - Online (Focus Group)
Sept 17
Analysis of the consultation feedback
EWG meeting 3 – WebEx
EWG meeting 4 – WebEx
Steering Group meeting
Additional Industry Forum 1 –Wales (Focus Group) Cardiff
Additional Industry Forum 2 - Scotland (Focus Group)Glasgow
Additional industry Forum 3 – Northern Ireland (FocusGroup) Belfast
Industry Forum 4 – England (Focus Group) London
Additional Online Focus Group
Nov 17
Draft NOS submitted to SDS database
Dec 2017 Analysis of the consultation feedback
Additional EWG meeting 4 – WebEx
Additional Steering Group meeting
Jan 2018 Final NOS submitted (completion, approval and submission)

11. What are NOS used for?

NOS can be used for many quality assurance purposes, please see the link below regarding the potential uses of National Occupational Standards. As NOS are not compulsory it is entirely up to an individual organisation how they utilise the standards.

Below is a link to the different ways NOS can be used by organisations.

NOS can be of help to employers and organisations as NOS define in detail the performance criteria expected of an individual in a role. NOS set out clearly what an individual needs to know and understand to enable them to meet the performance criteria.

NOS can be utilised by employers to:

  • improve the quality of goods and services;
  • increase productivity;
  • reduce costs for recruitment;
  • provide for better human resources planning;
  • help effective skills upgrading;
  • act as a benchmark for rewarding experience, knowledge and / or competence.

12. What is Occupational Competence?

  • Technical requirements – the occupational skills and knowledge required for the work.
  • Managing the work process – the ability to manage the overall process e.g. planning work, monitoring quality, and solving problems.
  • Working relationships – for example, relationships with customers, team members, and colleagues.
  • Managing the work environment – overall considerations such as health and safety, ethics, values and quality.

13. Who is responsible for NOS?

  • SSCs and other employer-led organisations. Independent employer-led UK organisations have responsibility for their respective NOS.
  • SSCs have strong working relationships with the devolved governments and other skills stakeholders.
  • The NOS panel has responsibility for the approval of all NOS which must be UK-wide and underpinned by a rigorous process of employer engagement and consultation.

14. What is the relationship between NOS and qualifications?

Once new or refreshed, NOS are approved by the NOS panel and qualifications can be developed that are underpinned by these NOS.

15. What NOS are not.
  • Chargeable – there are no costs associated with NOS.
  • A register – they are not a register.
  • Mandatory – they are benchmarks of good practice.
  • Courses – they do not describe the detailed learning that is required.
  • Training programmes – they do not describe the development necessary to become competent.
  • Units – they do not describe learning outcomes or assessment requirements, but can be used to inform unit development.
  • Qualifications – they are not placed into a qualification structure unless they have informed unit development.
  • Levelled – they are not developed according to qualification or other level-based approaches.

16. What is the NOS quality criteria?

The NOS quality criteria is the quality assurance mark and process you need to follow for a NOS review.

  • National Occupational Standards (NOS) may only be developed and maintained by recognised organisations.
  • Organisations are required to meet all the quality criteria for NOS.
  • All personnel working in the NOS system must be competent in the functions they are carrying out, or be developing their competence under supervision.
  • Each standards setting organisation must demonstrate its compliance with the quality criteria for NOS.

Please see the link NOS Quality Criteria

Please see the link to the NOS database

17. Why were only a small number of people involved within the initial development of the Standards?

During the stakeholder briefing meeting in October 2016, it quickly became very clear that there was a vast amount of disagreement between attendees regarding the proposed development of the NOS for Yoga Practice, with individuals expressing disagreement between themselves and being openly aggressive to each other and SkillsActive members of staff. Following the meeting, SkillsActive staff experienced intimidating and threatening behaviour with some organisations openly stalking staff and demanding answers to questions which were unanswerable at this stage of the NOS development process.

One of the NOS regulators who attended the briefing meeting was consulted regarding the next steps. This was fed back to the senior team and the following recommendation was made:

  • the regulator felt that some of the confusion that was expressed in the October meeting may have come from the fact that there has never been any NOS and therefore there was nothing tangible for stakeholders to look at/review to enable them to visualise what the NOS would look like. The suggestion was to avoid any further negativity and allow a cooling off period. A discrete group of experts who were in support of the NOS project could develop a functional map and draft NOS for further public consultation. The draft NOS would be the first iteration for a wider group of stakeholders and organisations to view. Feedback from the consultation would be used to develop the standards further.

18. Which individuals/organisations have been in the Steering Group and Expert Working Group to date?

Details of the steering group and working group members are contained in the consultation presentation available on the SkillsActive Steering Group members have to meet the NOS quality criteria.

19. How could I apply to become a Steering Group or Expert Working Group member?

All Steering group or Expert working group members should express an interest in developing the National Occupational Standards for Yoga. Application should be made via the core SkillsActive mailbox This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please state what your engagement there has been in each nation - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All working group and steering group members have to meet NOS quality criteria.

20. How inclusive was the consultation?

In order for a consultation process to be effective, it must be possible for people to question, disagree and offer alternative points of view, without this being construed as being negative or spreading false information.

During the consultation process at the focus groups in each nation, stakeholders and organisations were provided with ample opportunity to openly discuss and raise any questions relating to the development of the NOS for Yoga. Unfortunately, on some occasions this opportunity was used by some individuals to voice their own agenda.

Consultation questions were focused around the draft NOS, and SkillsActive ensured that all stakeholders and organisations during the consultation process had fair and equal opportunity to express their points and options.

This was achieved by providing:

  • an open consultation via the SkillsActive website;
  • focus groups in each nation;
  • multiple copies of documents during focus group meetings;
  • a facility for anonymous feedback;
  • multiple copies of documentation for participants to take away with them to review;
  • an open forum for discussion;
  • participants with the opportunity to choose the extent of feedback they wish to contribute to the consultation;
  • an alternative online focus group;
  • an online survey;
  • background information on the NOS project;
  • copies of the documentation in different formats.

The June and July consultation events were held in each nation as detailed below:

  • Belfast on the 23th June 2017;
  • Cardiff on the 5th July 2017;
  • Falkirk, Scotland on the 16th June 2017;
  • Doncaster on the 26th June 2017.

In addition, an online meeting was held on 3rd July 2017 for any individual unable to access a focus group.

All questions and information shared within focus group meetings were aligned with information on the SkillsActive website and online questions via survey monkey.

21. Why were some organisations not allowed to participate in the NOS development?

In October 2016, SkillsActive organised a stakeholder meeting to brief key organisations and stakeholders of the intention to look at developing National Occupational Standards for Yoga. An open invitation was extended to all. Some organisations and stakeholders did not feel it was a priority to attend. The consultation was an open process with invitations to join focus group meetings in each nation - including two online sessions and an online survey via survey monkey. This is the usual format that SkillsActive adopt. The development of National Occupational Standards are well established, proven and allow all stakeholders and organisations to be involved without prejudice. It must be noted that some organisations and stakeholders registered to attend both focus group and online briefing meetings but did not attend. For example:

The Yoga Alliance were invited to attend the Expert Working Group meeting on 16th January 2017 and consultation on all other meetings but failed to attend any.

22. Not enough people were involved in the consultation process.

Invitations we issued to over 6240 stakeholders and/or organisations via word of mouth, email, sector magazines and social media.

Over 180 respondents contributed to the June – July consultation.

23. The timescale for the consultation was too short.

The consultation for the Yoga NOS commenced on the 22/05/17 and finished on the 31/07/17. Four to 6 weeks is the usual time allocated to NOS consultations.

Additional consultation events were also held in November 2017.

24. Although the NOS will be the same across the four nations, it was discussed at the meeting that they could be used and interpreted differently in each of the four national contexts.

The NOS are a benchmark of good practice across the UK, they do not have a specific nation or focus. For example, policies and procedures vary between different organisations, and regulations can be different in different nations. The NOS can be used in a variety of ways as detailed within question 11 and the link provided there.

Each nation, organisation and stakeholder can decide how they can best utilise the NOS.

SkillsActive’s Welsh Language Scheme states; "4.3. SkillsActive will actively research and react to the Welsh language skills needs of the Active Leisure and Learning sector. SkillsActive will advise and lead Learning Providers to recognise and respond to the training needs of a bilingual Wales."

The SkillsActive Welsh Language Scheme document referred to is a historic document from 2007. SkillsActive have liaised with the Welsh Language Commission and have provided the following response;

“SkillsActive would like to confirm that all National Occupational Standards (NOS) activity including the Yoga Practice Teacher NOS review meet NOS quality criteria. This is reviewed and agreed by government representatives from each of the devolved nations via a NOS panel.”

One of the requirements within the NOS quality criteria is to provide evidence of demand for the NOS to be translated into Welsh, we do this by asking a specific question during the consultation process.

During the development phase SkillsActive, where practicable, will always endeavour to ensure documents are translated into the medium of Welsh. Following the development of all NOS suites, SkillsActive will request funding to allow the NOS to be translated into Welsh the following year, however this is not for 100% of every stage.

25. Can you provide clarification on definition of terms used in the draft NOS?

The inclusion of a terms of reference document was suggested by the Expert Working Group as a means of clarifying the scope/parameters of the Yoga Practice Teacher NOS. Following consultation this has now been renamed to overview document.

The latest version is below.

Yoga Practice Teacher NOS Overview

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to “join” or “unite”.

In the context of this suite of National Occupational Standards, yoga includes, but is not limited to, breath and body practices, and the yoga of meditation. Through postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama), concentration (pratyahara), single pointedness (dhyana), meditation (dharana) and relaxation, the body and mind are brought into balance and harmony providing a powerful tool for physical and mental health.

Yoga classes take a wide variety of forms and may have multiple purposes, including promoting fitness and health, relieving common ailments, enhancing quality of life and managing stress, although for some, yoga is considered primarily or solely as a path to spiritual enlightenment.

Classical yoga comprises all the branches of yoga, including, but not limited to, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, and kriya

The ‘classical’ concept of yoga is underpinned by many varied ancient texts, some of which come from India, that provide a strong and direct lineage that is followed by yoga practitioners.

26. Throughout the NOS there are certain references to generic or cluster words such as ‘sector’, ‘team’, ‘organisation’ and Governing Body which are difficult to understand.

We have used generic terms where possible and provided a glossary in all NOS to help with interpretation and understanding.

27. Why is Question 13 in the survey - ‘Should the standards be translated into Welsh?’

This is a standard question that is asked in all consultation as part of the quality criteria. This is specifically requested by Welsh government in the development of all NOS suites. Subsequently, SkillsActive will request funding to allow the NOS to be translated into Welsh the following year.

28. What do you mean when you say functional analysis?

Functional analysis is the main tool used to develop NOS. Functions are the main activities a person is expected to do, as part of their job.

There are 3 Stages to functional analysis:

  1. begin with a key purpose of the sector, occupation or role;
  2. identify main functions by asking ‘What needs to happen to achieve the Key Purpose?’
  3. identify possible NOS by asking ‘What needs to happen to achieve each main function?’

An example from a restaurant business is detailed below:

29. Why does NOS not take into account sole operators?

This was fed back as part of the June - July consultation. The NOS has now been reviewed and updated following this feedback and any restrictions and concerns expressed relating to the practicalities of sole traders have been considered and applied.

30. Insufficient consultation in June and July 2017.

Following the successful consultation of the Yoga Practice NOS in June – July, requests were made for further engagement from SkillsActive. Additional Industry Focus groups to update stakeholders on the development of the National Occupational Standards following consultation were held in the four nations as detailed below:

Scotland (Focus Group) Glasgow 20th November 2017 – Scottish Youth Theatre
Wales (Focus Group) Cardiff 23rd November 2017 – Marriott Hotel Cardiff
England (Focus Group) London 27th November 2017 – London Canal Museum
Norther Ireland Focus Group 29th November 2017 - Holiday Inn Express Belfast City Queens Quarter
Online Focus Group 24th November 2017 (1pm to 3 pm only)

Two sessions were held – one in the afternoon and one in the evening to allow additional opportunities to attend outside normal office times.

The locations were considered and venues were chosen which were in the capital city and within in easy access of public transport.

Registrations were from 2:30pm and 5:30pm and the meetings took place between 3pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8 pm.

A copy of all consultation documentation was available on the SkillsActive website

31. The NOS does not take into account the complexity, philosophy, history, culture, traditions and religious practice of Yoga

We would like to emphasise that it is not the practice of yoga and its many approaches and philosophies that are being sought to be standardised. The NOS review will only cover the fundamentals of facilitating participants’ safety. As it is stated in the footnotes below, it is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs. The principle behind the approach to develop NOS is to establish an agreed core of fundamental skills with which to teach yoga practice as detailed within the overview statements within the NOS; not what you teach. Likewise, it is appreciated that we are all individuals and this process should not be seen as trying to produce teachers who are regimented in their teaching methods, delivery and approaches.

We would like to draw upon a past example to illustrate how NOS development has worked in another sector, with a similar diversity of complexities, methodologies and applications; that of Sports Coaching. A whole host of sports covering swimming, tennis, water polo, synchronised swimming, rugby, hockey etc. all use the Sports Coaching NOS, to base their practice upon. Each professional sports coach uses their own disciplines and approaches with which to coach individuals and they modify their approach to suit each individual they coach, however, they all base their coaching approach upon that of the core Sports Coaching NOS. We respectfully ask you to consider the opportunity of drawing a parallel between this example of adaptation and tailoring how this could be applied to the NOS proposed.

SkillsActive has also received support for the NOS development from his Excellency Dinesh Patnaik, the Acting Indian Commissioner in London via Amarjeet S. Bhamra Indian Traditional Sciences.

Support has also been received from the Minister for AYUSH, MPs and Peers on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Traditional Indian Sciences and by Lord Stone who is setting up, with cross-party Parliamentary support, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga.

32. Questions relating to the letter received from Anne Milton MP to Peter Yates

SkillsActive are recognised and actively work with all governments within the four nations and maintain contracts to complete a number of UK wide activities.

Since the need for the development of the NOS for yoga was expressed, only the English government has prioritised the development of Apprenticeships standards (for England only not currently applicable to Yoga.) The NOS are UK wide and are reviewed by a UK NOS panel which is administered by Skills Development Scotland.

Here is the link to further information on the NOS on the GOV.UK website

Here is the NOS website where you will see SkillsActive listed as an approved SSC to develop NOS.

We have never claimed that National Occupational Standards can be enforced - they are a benchmark of good practice across the UK. Please see the presentation from the July focus groups.

33. How this affect UK based teachers who teach abroad or who might provide retreats abroad for UK based clients/students?

This would not directly affect these teachers as the NOS is not mandatory. If an organisation adopted the NOS as good practice or its standard, this would be then up to the organisation to quality assure.

Yoga Teacher National Occupational Standards (NOS)

This NOS is for Yoga teachers, tutors and or practitioners who demonstrate and teach Yoga practice to participants to improve physical, mental and holistic wellbeing.

The development of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Yoga teacher is primarily driven by the need to ensure participant safety. All Yoga teachers irrelevant of the type of yoga delivered/practiced should have a fundamental understanding of how to maintain the health, welfare and security of themselves and their participants. The principle behind the approach to develop NOS is to establish an agreed core of fundamental skills with which to teach yoga practice as detailed within the overview statements below and within the NOS; not what you teach. Likewise, it is appreciated that we are all individuals and this process should not be seen as trying to turn out teachers who are regimented in their teaching methods, delivery and approaches.

The NOS covers the fundamentals of facilitating participant’s safety. The content is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs, rather to be used as a basic benchmark of good practice, as the standards can be developed further to encompass and the diversity of traditions, cultures and backgrounds within your teaching and delivery We would like to emphasise that it is not the practice of yoga and its many approaches and philosophies that are being sought to be standardised.

Yoga Teacher NOS Overview

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to “join” or “unite”. This standard interprets Yoga as a taught self-discipline.

Yoga comes to us from the ancient philosophy of the Indian sub-continent. It was passed orally from teacher to student over thousands of generations in many different lineages, and expounded in texts written in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Indian sub-continent. The word Yoga comes from a Sanskrit root verb, ‘yuj’, which means ‘to join’: ultimately Yoga serves to offer its practitioners a state of being in which there is a discovery of wholeness and integration.

Since Yoga’s journey to the West which began during the 19th century, it has been taught as a religious and spiritual practice in some instances, as a system for physical health and wellbeing in others, and as a combination of both of these dimensions. Yoga’s vast history and philosophy allow for the authenticity of all of these approaches.

In the National Occupational Standards, the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali, which forms the basis of one of the six orthodox philosophies of the Indian sub-continent, is recognised as being among the authoritative texts of Yoga. In this text Yoga is defined as a quest for one’s true identity, and practices ranging from mindful postures and movement (āsana), breathwork (prāṇāyāma), ethics and codes of conduct (yama and niyama), containing the senses (pratyāhāra), concentration (dhāraṇā) and meditation (dhyāna) are all undertaken to serve this end.

Yoga classes take a wide variety of forms and may have multiple purposes or motivations for the student, falling into three broad categories:

  1. promoting physical, mental and holistic wellbeing, by relieving common ailments, enhancing quality of life and managing stress
  2. providing a sense of enjoyment, fulfilment or empowerment
  3. progress and achievement in Yoga practice as a possible path to spiritual development, through self-knowledge and personal transformation

This range of practices allows for individual choice: all, many or just one may be undertaken.

Classical Yoga comprises all of the branches of Yoga, including, but not limited to, bhakti Yoga, karma Yoga, raja Yoga, kriya Yoga and gyana Yoga

The ‘classical’ concept of Yoga is underpinned by many varied ancient texts, most of which come from the Indian sub-continent Asia , that provide a many strong and direct lineages that are followed by Yoga practitioners.

This National Occupational Standard provides a framework for the teaching of these practices.

Towards the first European wide employment and skills map

Lyon, France: The European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE), is delighted to announce a new transnational initiative funded by the European Commission under Erasmus+.

EOSE is the applicant and coordinator, and will work with a supporting partnership of 18 national partners and 5 European networks to deliver this exciting and challenging project entitled the ESSA-Sport project - “A European Sector Skills Alliance for Sport and Physical Activity”.

The project aims to engage for the first time the whole sport and physical activity sector at the EU and national level to deliver the first EU-wide Employment and Skills map.

Expectations from the sector are rising with governments aiming for improved levels of health through sport and physical activity, for sport and physical activity to be at the heart of social integration and to improve the employability of young people through the education and personal development it offers. New businesses and jobs are being created and new skills are needed for professionals and the huge army of volunteers that lies at the heart of the sector to match the expectation from the labour market.

ESSA-Sport offers the sport and physical activity sector a unique opportunity to build a partnership for quality research and consultation, to identify realities, trends and challenges facing the sector, and to undertake the first real analysis of labour market and skills needs and priorities based on a national “bottom-up” approach. Indeed, the structure of the project is built around a wide network of national organisations acting as researchers and coordinators who will work with stakeholders in Member States to carry out desk-research activities and deep consultation, and to produce national reports analysing the employment situation, skill needs and priorities to be implemented for the sector.

The project will research available sources of national statistics to define and understand the sport and physical activity labour market across the member states and will also conduct a major online survey across Europe to identify the skill needs of employers.

Wide consultation activities will take place with the active support of European network organisations and national sector representatives to finalise a European strategic action plan with detailed and concrete priorities and recommendations to help ensure education, training and qualifications are geared towards the realities of the sector.

It must be emphasised that ESSA-Sport is a research project that can create the conditions for change and improvement but does not in itself deliver that change. It should be seen as the first step of the journey to provide the basis for a coordinated approach to analyse the changing labour market and develop solutions to re-skill the workforce with modern, fit for purpose training and qualifications.

The ESSA-Sport project will run until October 2019.

Free International workshop – sharing research and good practice globally: How to Deliver the Place Standard Tool in your Community

Thursday 2nd March, 9.30am-4pm Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh

Limited number of places available

Following the incredible interest at the Child in the City Conference in 2016 Play Scotland and NHS Health Scotland have designed a workshop to show participants how the Place Standard Tool works and how it can be used in all communities.

Opening Address: Ian Gilzean, Chief Architect, Scottish Government and Chair of Place Standard Board.

The Place Standard Tool is a good practice resource that has been designed to support communities, the public and private sectors, and other organisations to work better together to deliver high quality places that meet the needs of the local community.

The Place Standard has been developed by the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland to evaluate the quality of places

The Place Standard tool encourages people, including children and young people, to work together, and to discuss places in a meaningful way. It allows places to be assessed consistently and compared over time. Unlike many other design assessments, the place standard tool considers people and the social life of a place to be just as important as its built assets.The Tool includes Play and Recreation as part of the assessment, which links strongly with the exciting new Play Map resource developed by Play Scotland.

Expressions of interest to Sharon McCluskie, Play Scotland email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 16 February 2017.

For further information please contact Play Scotland CEO, Marguerite Hunter Blair email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Apprenticeship funding changes

Information for employers about the way apprenticeship funding is changing, including details about the apprenticeship levy we are introducing from 2017.

  1. Apprenticeship funding from May 2017

    • Policy paper
  2. Apprenticeship funding: how it will work

    • Guidance
  3. Apprenticeships: become a training provider

    • Guidance
  4. Apprenticeships: government spending and expected levy payments

    • Transparency data
  5. Apprenticeship funding reform in England: payment mechanisms and funding principles

    • Consultation outcome
  6. Apprenticeships funding reform in England

    • Consultation outcome

Guidance for trailblazers

Groups of employers (‘trailblazers’) are leading the way in carrying out the changes to apprenticeships. They are working together to design apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches to make them world class.

Read the standards and assessment plans that have been produced by employers and agreed by the government.

Read the standards that are also being developed by employer groups across the trailblazers.

  1. Future of apprenticeships in England: guidance for trailblazers

    • Guidance
  2. Employers' guide to apprenticeship standards

    • Guidance
  3. Apprenticeship standards: list of occupations available

    • Guidance
  4. Trailblazer apprenticeship funding requirements for employers

    • Guidance
  5. Apprenticeship standards: changes to the process for approvals

    • Guidance
  6. Register of apprentice assessment organisations

    • Guidance
  7. Apprenticeship trailblazer quality statement

    • Guidance

Richard Review of Apprenticeships

The ‘Richard Review of Apprenticeships’ looked at how apprenticeships in England can meet the needs of the changing economy. The implementation plan sets out the government’s approach to changing apprenticeships based on the feedback we received from the Richard Review consultation.

  1. Apprenticeship reforms: progress report

    • Policy paper
  2. Future of apprenticeships in England: Richard Review next steps

    • Consultation outcome
  3. Richard Review of Apprenticeships

    • Independent report
  4. Removal of apprenticeship frameworks

    • Guidance


  1. Apprenticeship trailblazers

    • Speech
  2. Employers in the driving seat for reformed apprenticeships

    • Press release
  3. The Richard Review of Apprenticeships

    • Announcement

Future Fit Training – provider of quality assured personal training courses - has been invited to partner with the ground-breaking Reebok Archon platform to enable its trainers and their clients to effectively measure, evaluate and improve their performance.

The Reebok Archon Platform is set to transform the way our personal trainers work with their clients to assess fitness and performance levels. The sophisticated algorithms combine to standardise and regulate fitness testing and assessment, validated by a tried and tested programme that provides comparable data across strength, power, agility, coordination and endurance. By inputting an individual’s scores set against their personal profile – including gender, age, weight and wing-span - Reebok Archon provides an accurate and real time representation of someone’s fitness. In one fell swoop, tangible, meaningful and relevant feedback is now at the fingertips of PTs and their clients.

The Reebok Archon Platform is free to use and easy to access. People simply visit, register their details and create a personal profile. They then choose which of the 12 optional assessments they wish to complete, do the activity and upload their metrics. Immediately, they will be given a unique status of their assessment and progress. That’s just the start point – from here they can use the educational content and technique videos to boost their understanding and help them improve. The sky is the limit as people assess, evaluate and track their improvement and see their fitness, ability and confidence rise and rise. A host of charts and tracked information give people a strong visual stimulus for their on-going progress. It is all held privately but there are options to share this content with family, friends and on social media should they wish.

Future Fit Training is renowned for its quality assured training and trainers and the validation of their ability and effectiveness is of paramount importance. The Reebok Archon platform is the perfect tool for Future Fit trainers and graduates who will be able to register for the platform via their bespoke Student Zone using a unique and secure URL. They will also be able to become an awarded Reebok Archon Adjudicator which means they would be able to officially validate inputted scores and truly become a leader in the field of fitness assessment.

“The Reebok Archon Platform has the potential to transform how PTs measure, evaluate and improve their clients’ performance and it’s a truly exciting and valuable development for the industry,” says Paul Swainson, Head of the Future Fit Training School of PT. “PTs and clients are focused on improvement, performance and, ultimately, positive results: Reebok Archon gives us all the tools to show exactly how well people are performing, which areas they might need to work on and a highly motivating tool to show clearly how they are progressing. It’s clear, informative, exciting and personal. Quite apart from the personal satisfaction and feedback clients will enjoy with Reebok Archon, our trainers now have a tool to validate the methods they use to train their clients toward improving their performances and fitness. It’s genius!”

Reebok Archon was developed by Matt Ford, who was inspired to develop a failsafe formula after years of frustration in the fitness industry of outdated and unreliable assessment tools. “As a PT one of my biggest frustrations was not being able to accurately assess clients or reliably track their progress as there were only generic tools available. This gave an idea where my clients were generally but didn’t take into account their personal profile. With Reebok Archon we have an accurate and reliable platform that will give precise and personal feedback to individuals against which they can set themselves realistic targets and goals. It’s completely relevant, highly motivational and will transform how PTs and clients work. It’s all about setting YOUR standard, not working against THE standard.”

The scope of the Reebok Archon Platform is limitless and its launch is the start of something very significant for the fitness industry. “I am really encouraged by the results of our testing programme and the response we’ve had from the industry,” says Matt. “We want nothing less than to be seen as the beacon in the industry for setting, achieving and smashing standards. Reebok Archon takes measurement, evaluation and improvement to a whole new level.”

The Official Opening Ceremony of the new £15 million Hinckley Leisure Centre, took place yesterday on Thursday 9th June on the site of the former council offices on Argents Mead.

Many honoured guests were in attendance to officially celebrate the opening of the site including, The Mayor of Hinckley Richard Allen, representatives from Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Olympic Silver & Double Commonwealth Gold Medallist, Sharron Davies MBE, Places for People Leisure Management, and its team of Pellikaan Construction and Roberts Limbrick Architects. The dignitaries were given a tour of the site of the new centre before a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Mayor and Sharron Davies to document the ceremony.

The consortium who designed and built the new leisure centre was lead by Places for People Leisure, with the facility opened to the general public on May 3rd. The facility includes an eight court sports hall, a modern and well-equipped café and soft adventure play facility, an eight-lane 25 metre pool and a learner pool both with moveable floors to ensure the pools are utilised by a range of swimmers. Further facilities include a family splash area, sauna and steam rooms, along with dance studios, a multipurpose meeting room and a Group Cycling studio.

During its open weekend last month, members of the local community were offered the chance to try out a whole host of activities for free and more than 10,000 people came along to test out the new pools and take a look at the state-of-the-art new gym and fitness facilities on offer.

The surrounding space of the new leisure centre has been landscaped with a grassed play area suitable for school and community usage. The state of the art venue will act as a hub of health and wellbeing, inspiring the local community to enjoy, and reap the many benefits of, physical activity. The previous leisure centre on Coventry Road in Hinckley remained open until the new facility was unveiled last month.

The talk of the day focussed on the need to continually improve participation and encouraging engagement in physical activity within the local community. Mike Hall, Leader of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council comments: "We are delighted to officially open the new Hinckley Leisure Centre and are already overwhelmed with the positive response we’ve had so far from the local community. It’s fantastic to have Sharron Davies here to celebrate with us and our new swimming pools have already garnered much attraction from residents and our local swimming club. This new facility will act as a hub for the health and wellbeing for community members across the borough and we are proud that we can offer a wide range of activities for individuals to engage with. Physical activity is important for not only social and physical but also mental wellbeing and we hope that this new facility will inspire a generation to get up and reap the rewards that engagement has to offer."

Speaking at the Official Opening, Sharron Davies commented: "I've been to many leisure centres in my time and Hinckley is without a doubt one of the best I've ever been to. That's not just because of the superb facilities but because of the valuable partnerships Places for People Leisure have made with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, the local schools and the local clubs. With many swimming pools facing closure across the UK, it is great to see a facility with so much to offer. Allowing the local community access to swimming facilities for those who are just beginning their swimming journey right up to those who are regular participants is key to ensure that we encourage as many people as possible to gain this vital life skill. I am proud to be a part of the official opening for the centre and understand the importance a facility like this has upon residents, allowing them the opportunity to a wide range of activities on their doorstep."

Places for People Leisure Development Director, Peter Kirkham explains: "In partnership with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council we will work hard to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community and this new leisure centre is a step in the right direction. We are delighted to welcome a host of noted individuals to the ceremony and are happy to report that the facility has been delivered both on budget and on time. We are confident that we have created an environment in which the members of the local community can come and positively engage in leisure activities and look forward to following the progress of the centre and its members over the coming months."

Places for People Leisure currently partners 35 local authorities, managing 113 leisure centres across England. Its sites attract over 30 million visits every year and in the past seven years the award winning organisation has built 13 new leisure facilities.

For more information please visit

Places for People

The brand new £7.5m Tewkesbury Leisure Centre opened to the public for the first time on Monday 30th May.

Funded by Tewkesbury Borough Council, the new state of the art centre will be managed in a 10-year contract by operator Places for People Leisure. The new centre will provide the local community with an enhanced Amateur Swimming Association teaching programme, additional time for aquatic classes and will offer group exercise classes.

Tewkesbury Leisure Centre features a 60 station fitness suite with top of the range fitness equipment, a 25m five-lane main pool, a 20m teaching pool and two studios, as well as a sauna and steam room. The centre also features a children's splash area, designed specifically with little ones in mind to help build up confidence with water in a fun and safe environment. A rain shower and mushroom fountain have been installed, as well as jets that gently shoot water up from the floor. In the teaching pool, there are also water jets on the poolside which squirt into the water.

Excitingly, another addition to Tewkesbury Leisure Centre is the inflatable 'aquarun'. It is a floating assault course which will be available for young (and young at heart!) swimmers to use during splash sessions and it will also be available to hire for children's parties. To encourage children to be more physically active, children under eight can also swim for free.

Hoists for disabled people have also been installed in both pools and a dedicated 'Changing Places' changing room with lifting hoist and a shower bed is available for those who need it.

Matt Cotton, General Manager at Tewkesbury Leisure Centre, said: "It’s fantastic to see the local community using and enjoying the wonderful new facilities that the centre has to offer. The feedback from customers has been great and we’re looking forward to welcoming more people in over the summer."

John Bates, Business Development Director at Places for People Leisure commented on the opening of the centre: "Places for People Leisure are proud to work in true partnership with Tewkesbury Borough Council and are confident that the new state of the art facilities will be well received by the local community, encouraging more people to participate in a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity."

REPs Sports Coach UK

Two leading sports organisations have announced a major initiative to create better strategic alignment and clarify the sporting landscape. sports coach UK and SkillsActive have collaborated to run the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), the independent, public register which provides regulation for health and fitness instructors.

REPs was launched in 2002 to provide confidence to employers and the public that instructors and trainers meet the National Occupational Standards set by the industry. As well as protecting the public, the Register enhances the employment prospects of exercise professionals by recognising their skills and qualifications. For employers, it offers an efficient mechanism for verifying qualifications and ensuring the competence of staff, especially in the specialist areas linked to health rehabilitation.

The immediate benefits of this initiative to the 30,000+ registered members of REPs are continued quality of service, protection and the opportunity for further relevant professional development and on-line learning, ensuring they are properly equipped to meet the emerging needs of the government’s new sports strategy.

For the wider sport and activity community, the benefit is that the service is capable of extension to a wider set of registers and users, providing employers and the public with the same confidence that the REPs badge has bestowed on its members since 2002.

Commenting on the initiative, Sport England’s Director of Sport Phil Smith said: "The Government's new strategy for Sport Sporting Future is very clear about the need for the industry to support its professionals at all levels. Sport England has recently consulted widely on what the industry needs to do next, and the call for simplification was loud and consistent. This change is a positive step in that direction and is aiming to make life better for exercise professionals."

Sports coach UK Chair Gillian Wilmot said: “We’re committed to driving the development of coaching across the whole sport and physical activity landscape. Exercise professionals play an important role in motivating people to become active and stay active, whether through sport or physical activity. The whole sporting workforce should be equipped to deal with the challenge of getting everybody active every day.”

SkillsActive Chairman Peter Rowley said: “We recognise this opportunity to benefit employers, professionals and the public in other sectors of sport and wellbeing. There’s great scope for structures like REPs to increase public confidence and engagement, ease employer processes and simplify the professionalisation of sporting skills in line with the new DCMS strategy. Skills Active will focus on playing a full role in the standards for the skills agenda in sport underpinned by initiatives such as the Registers.”

SkillsActive has welcomed the recent findings of Sport England’s Active People Survey, which has shown an increase of 245,200 participants in sport when compared to the previous findings in June. This means that 35.8% of the total adult population now participate in sport at least once a week.

One significant finding of the research is the increase in female participation, which shows that 148,700 more women are playing sport and getting active once a week, every week. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign has played an important part in this development.

Additionally, whilst the biggest participant age-group is 16-25 year olds, there has been a big increase in participation of people over the age of 26 – 217,000 higher.

Swimming remains the sport with the highest levels of once a month participation – (9.4% of adults go swimming once a month) – whilst the sport with the biggest increase over this period is Athletics, which has seen 98,300 more participants.

Ian Taylor, SkillsActive’s CEO said: “It is a really positive sign that the sector has embraced Sport England’s focus on increasing participation in recent months, with a particular emphasis on female participation”.

"Sport England’s partners will continue to support them in making the nation more active – with SkillsActive at the forefront of driving up standards in training and development amongst the sport and physical activity workforce".