Finding Well-being in the Budget

With just 36 days to go until the general election, our CEO Ian Taylor gives his opinion on the final budget announcement in his latest article for Leisure Opportunities.

Economic well-being is obviously important to millions of people across the country. However, I firmly believe our physical wellbeing is just as important as our economic wellbeing.

In the recent Budget announcement the new mental health strategy for young people and adults really caught my eye, as here at SkillsActive we welcome extra support to help young people with mental health problems get their lives back on track. Physical activity and access to sport is a proven way to help teenagers get to a better place.

I want to hard-wire fitness plans as part of treatment therapies within back to work programmes. SkillsActive is working with the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions to achieve this objective, and is building partnerships with Work Programme providers to really make a difference.

We are also proud to be involved in delivering the strategy to widen access to physical activity and sport in colleges for 16-18 year olds. This is in partnership with Sport England and AOC Sport as part of the Active Colleges project, ensuring staff have the right skills to engage young people in sport and physical activity. One of our objectives after the general election is to bring together employers from our industry with schools, colleges and the Department for Education so that more young people under 18 can access gyms and fitness centres.

All of this means in the future that we will need more not fewer fitness and exercise apprentices, and apprentices with medical competence at Level 3 and 4 rather than Level 2.

With the great ‘apprenticeship expansion’ now on, the Conservatives have promised 3 million from 2015 to 2020, and Labour 80,000 extra starts for 18 year olds at Level 3 or higher. Yet, without employers none of these ambitions will be reached. SkillsActive will be working hard over the coming months with our employers to meet the needs of our industry and the wellbeing of the nation.

You can read the latest issue of Leisure Opportunities in full here