Half of Fit for Sport’s workforce will have received training through Apprenticeships by 2013, reflecting the importance of Apprenticeships to its business.
The Healthy Lifestyle Activities Provider has been training apprentices for the company and its sector partners since late 2009, providing young people with an important entry route into the sport and active leisure industry. Currently, 15% of Fit for Sport’s 70 permanent staff train through Apprenticeships. By 2013, training manager Jack Shakespeare expects that figure to reach 50 per cent.
“Apprenticeships are, in our experience, the most successful way to recruit, develop and retain effective employees,” Jack says. “The training ensures apprentices are competent and engage in living our vision and values. They are core to our future growth and that of our partners.”
Apprentices gain relevant qualifications while they earn
Fit for Sport’s Level 2 NVQ apprenticeship in activity leadership takes learners one year to complete and includes a salary of between £5000 to £14000 depending on age, hours of work and responsibilities. Fit for Sport looks for six key values in any potential employee. They need to be: trustworthy, professional, enthusiastic, fun, a good role model and lead a healthy lifestyle.
“Our staff are our product,” Jack says. “We can motivate them and provide them with the right practical skills but they have to demonstrate those other qualities from the outset.”
Working with SkillsActive, which designs the apprenticeship frameworks, Fit for Sport tailored the framework to ensure the learning matched the practical skills they needed in the workplace. Fit for Sport apprentices gain a level 2 in activity leadership, which teaches them how to plan, deliver and review engaging, safe and progressive activity sessions for children. They also complete qualifications in behaviour management, child protection, first aid and employability training and, if they need them, key skills.
“Not every employer has the same needs so a flexible apprenticeship framework is important,” Jack says. “Our apprentices are practical minded people so we wanted any theory work to be directly relevant to their role, and SkillsActive helped us with this.”
Building a motivated, loyal workforce
More than 90% of Fit For Sport apprentices secure work with the company or its sector partners such as SLM leisure group. Fit For Sport uses its industry connections to support other apprentices into further education or work with companies specialising in adult activity leadership.
Jack says the combination of learning and working offered by Apprenticeships is priceless.
“Apprenticeships allow Fit For Sport to select the right person and develop them in a way that meets the needs of both the company and the apprentice. We invest 12 months of training and mentoring and we get fully qualified, enthusiastic and work ready employees, each of whom understands our company and our values. It also means we save time and money on recruitment. We are using Apprenticeships to build a well-trained, motivated and loyal workforce which will help us grow and develop our business.”
There are four types of apprenticeships available in the active learning, learning and wellbeing sector. They provide a mix of practical and technical skills that allow learners to develop at work and progress to further education.
To find out more about Apprenticeships in the sport and active leisure sector please see Apprenticeships