Yorkshire and Humberside has more than 500 newly qualified staff in swimming and football thanks to a range of successful partnerships created by SkillsActive, the sector skills council for the active leisure sector, and part-funded by the Skills Enhancement Fund.
As a timely boost to raising sports participation in the region ahead of London 2012, the Football League Trust (FLT) and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) grasped the opportunities presented by SkillsActive in June last year, to benefit from the Skills Enhancement Fund.
SkillsActive is funded by Sport England to support national governing bodies of sport to deliver the workforce development commitments in their current plans, and the news represents one of the biggest regional success stories to kick start 2012.
The £50m Skills Enhancement Fund, available until June 2012, aims to engage employers in Yorkshire and Humber in skills development and increase the region’s skills base. It is co-financed through the Skills Funding Agency through the European Social Fund and Yorkshire Forward and managed by Calderdale College.
Steve Mitchell, Head of National Partnerships at SkillsActive says: “We are delighted that the funding has had such a terrific impact and developed new skills of so many individuals within the sports industry. We worked in partnership with Calderdale College to develop Coaching Tenders under the Framework Activity Route, which provides funding for qualifications that will have a direct and very significant impact in the sector.”
The FLT has now delivered almost 1,000 level one and two qualifications to approximately 500 staff in areas such as coaching, dance, disability awareness, and mental health awareness. 15 ASA staff have also gained their UKCC Level 1 Teaching Aquatics qualification and additional disability CPD modules, providing the participants with disability specific knowledge.
Angus Martin, The Football Leisure Trust’s Regional Community Manager for Yorkshire & the North East explains: “There was, and still is, a gap for our staff and volunteers to pick up new and additional qualifications due to the growing variety of work that our 72 community schemes get involved with across health, education, sports participation, social inclusion and the environment.
“The funding allowed us to offer an excellent range of CPD to our staff that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. We would probably only have been able to deliver a tenth of the CPD on our own, so the funding has been a huge boost for us.”
Vicky Norman, ASA Aquatic Officer for the North East says: “Disability specific knowledge is crucial in learn-to-swim programmes to help integrate disabled children into mainstream schemes. These teachers will now have some insight into the needs and requirements of disabled people within a learn to swim setting.”
Clive Howarth, Head of Relationships at the Skills Funding Agency in Yorkshire and Humber, says: “This unique initiative, not available in any other English region, is designed to support skills training that isn’t usually funded, and to allow more individuals who wouldn’t normally get the chance to learn new skills and to achieve recognised qualifications. In the UK’s Olympic year the level of interest in sport has increased significantly and the Skills Funding Agency is delighted to have been able to help turn this interest into qualifications.”