November 2012 saw SkillsActive win a contract with the FA to review, overhaul and re-launch their National Game Training Programme (the FA's established workforce development programme). Work on the review began in November 2012 and will run until the end of June 2013 in time for the re-launch of the programme in July 2013.
One of the things that spurred action from the FA, were a series of pilot's run by County Football Associations (CFAs) around the country. This case study outlines the work of John Ackerley, Regional Manager for the National Game at the FA who developed a pilot workshop to support Birmingham CFA Senior Management Team (SMT) to work together more effectively.
"In order to deliver the CFA Board's vision through its paid and volunteer workforce the development of a high performing senior management team is vital. It is important that senior management teams have in place: a shared purpose, clearly defined performance goals', agreed ways of working together, and complementary skills and talents. Senior management teams may have some of these elements in place but few, if any have all of them".
John Ackerley, Regional Manager National Game, The FA
CFAs have seen considerable change in terms of management in recent years and are now mainly structured with a CEO and heads of governance and development. In most cases they have taken the decision to form senior management teams. Post-holders are a mixture of people new in post, those who have been at the CFA for a few years, and those that are long-standing employees. Each of the groups has varying levels of management experience.
Long term consultant to the FA, Lucy Faulkner was asked to design a set of three workshops for Birmingham CFA to help the organisation achieve the aforementioned aims, she and John then co-facilitated these sessions. Lucy will also be working on the National Game Training Programme Review together with HR expert Jayne Hughes of JH Consultants. Jayne is a former Interim Head of HR at the FA.
Information from the Birmingham CFA pilot and others, together with data collected via a full range of other analytical methods will provide SkillsActive with a wealth of data to analyse and report back to the FA with. Methods to be utilised will be wide ranging, including: Training Needs Analysis surveys (TNAs), interviews, and desk research.
Stephen Mitchell, Strategic Lead for the Review said:
"We are thrilled to be leading this exciting project as commissioned by the National Game directorate at the FA. By undertaking this review, we will be well positioned to advise the FA on the most appropriate, quality assured and best value mechanisms for developing the County FA workforce through learning and development interventions from July 2013. By empowering the personnel who are employed in the 14 key County FA roles across the 52 County Associations, the football family can pull together to deliver the National Game Strategy through to 2017. SkillsActive have been subsidised by Sport England for the last 4 years now, assisting with workforce development across NGBs in support of participation and customer satisfaction targets. To fulfil and exceed this particular relationship with one of the largest and most recognisable brands in sport in the UK, is a great honour and our hard work has been recognised by being entrusted by the FA to deliver this work."
Stephen Mitchell, Head of National Partnerships, SkillsActive
The event was attended by the FA General Secretary Alex Horne, England National Coach Hope Powell, England International Footballer Steph Houghton and The FA Head of National Game Kelly Simmons, to discuss plans to further develop women's football in this country.
The new plan, entitled 'Game Changer' will push the sport forward by harnessing the momentum generated by the Olympics.
To date, women's football boasts 253,600 participants on a monthly basis and is the fourth-most popular sport in terms of participation behind men's football, cricket, and rugby. FA chairman David Bernstein said:
"Women's football is the area with the most potential for growth in the nation's favourite game. We are determined to lead that development at every level and have created a robust plan for doing so using all our resources and knowledge."
One of the FA's major targets is to drive the number of female teams, a figure which currently stands at 6,600. This will form an integral part of the £43 million FA National Game Strategy and will include the utilisation of the FA Children and Young People Strategy to bring girls into the game.
Other commitments identified by David Bernstein included:
• Creating an Elite Performance Unit
• Appointing a Head of Elite Development
• Delivering a new commercial strategy for women's football
• Expanding The FA Women's Super League
• Growing participation and fanbase
SkillsActive holds strong strategic alignment with FA through our ongoing work to improve customer experience, workforce skill-set and ultimately, increase participation. As such, we aim to support the FA fully throughout the next five years and thereafter.
Asked whether up-skilling those involved in grassroots football would help increase participation, Steph Houghton said:
"Yes of course there is going to be a benefit, it's brilliant that more coaches will be involved with getting more young girls and boys into sport".
These developments should begin to herald a new era in women's professional football.
Recruitment is now underway for positions on the year-long programme, which provides the opportunity for apprentices to gain nationally recognised qualifications whist working in a football related setting. Successful applicants will have the chance to be employed in one of the counties three high profile football organisations - Ipswich Town FC Needham Market FC, and Suffolk FA - in coaching, playing, administration or football development.
The FA’s Head of the National Game, Kelly Simmons, is delighted that football organisations across the landscape are working together in Suffolk to provide the opportunity for young people.
“We are really excited about this Apprenticeship programme because it uses the attraction of football to give many young people their vital first employment opportunity. Not only does it support them in developing long-term options within the football industry, but it reinforces the FAs commitment through the National Game Strategy to developing a strong club, league and administrative infrastructure within the grass roots community game.
“The FA are working closely with SkillsActive to ensure quality Apprenticeships are embedded across the game with strong commitments from all those interested in developing and nurturing the future talent of football coaching, refereeing and administration.”
The programme has already employed 40 apprentices since it was established in July 2011, including Elliot Jarrold, 16, from Needham Market. Elliot says: “I always wanted to work in sport but I wasn’t sure how to get started, until I heard about this Apprenticeship. I went along to the trial where I was tested on my technical ability, and I got in. Now I’m gaining the skills to be a football coach, improving my game and earning money. It’s great!”
The training is coordinated by Suffolk-based provider, WS Training. WS Training’s Head of Vocational Learning, Simon Page says: “We’re delighted to be helping deliver training to young people as part of this innovative scheme. This is a great example of how working together can bring about positive outcomes for a large group of young people who an interest in working in sport.”
Young People on the Apprenticeship programme will follow the frameworks designed by SkillsActive, in consultation with employers. The apprentices will gain nationally recognised qualifications such as an NVQ in Activity Leadership NVQ and FA Coaching Awards.
SkillsActive’s Head of National Partnerships, Stephen Mitchell, says: “More and more employers are turning to Apprenticeships as an effective way to recruit, develop and retain effective employees. SkillsActive is proud to be supporting the delivery of football Apprenticeships in Suffolk.”
For more information about the apprentice opportunities see http://www.wstraining.co.uk/apprenticeships-nvqs/football-apprenticeships
There are two types of Modern Apprenticeships available in the active leisure, learning and wellbeing sector in Scotland:
For information and documents relevant to Apprenticeships in Scotland see Frameworks and Guidance for Scotland.
SkillsActive manages the Hair and Beauty Apprenticeship frameworks in partnership with Habia, the sector body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa sector.
For Hair and Beauty Apprenticeship frameworks see the HABIA website.
For more information on modern apprenticeships in Scotland see the Scottish Qualifications Autority website.
For more information on Apprenticeships in Scotland please email
This section contains information and documents relevant to Apprenticeships in Wales. All files are in PDF format.
The Apprenticeship frameworks developed to meet the requirements of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW) are now available on the Apprenticeship Frameworks Online website.
SkillsActive offers six apprenticeships in Wales in the active leisure, learning and wellbeing sector.
Foundation Level Apprenticeships
Foundation Apprenticeship Leisure Operations (May 2011)
Foundation Apprenticeship in Playwork (June 2011)
Advanced Level Apprenticeships
Advanced Apprenticeship in Advanced Fitness (April 2011)
Advanced Apprenticeship in Advanced Playwork (June 2011)
This section contains information and documents relevant to apprenticeships in England. All files are in PDF format.
The Apprenticeship frameworks developed to meet the requirements of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) are now available on the Apprenticeship Frameworks Online website.
SkillsActive offers 12 Apprenticeship frameworks in England in the active leisure, learning and wellbeing sector.
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
Intermediate Apprenticeship in Leisure Operations (September 2011)
Possible job roles: park operative, maintenance operative, park receptionist, groundsperson, and recreation/leisure attendant.
Intermediate Apprenticeship in Coaching (January 2012)
Possible job roles: coach, instructor, teacher (tennis and swimming only)
Spectator Safety (June 2012)
Possible job roles: steward, marshal
Playwork (June 2012)
Possible job roles: assistant play worker, play centre assistant
Intermediate Apprenticeship in Activity Leadership (June 2012)
Possible job roles: community sports coach, activity leader, fitness leader, outdoors instructor, activity instructor
Exercise and Fitness (June 2012)
Possible job roles: fitness instructor / gym instructor, recreation assistant, exercise instructor, leisure centre assistant
Advanced Level Apprenticeships
Advanced Apprenticeship in Outdoor Programmes (April 2011)
Possible job roles: outdoor instructor, senior instructor, assistant & trainee variations, activity specific titles, for example climbing wall supervisor, team leader / supervisor, head of activity, project leader, group leader / counsellor
Exercise and Fitness (June 2012)
Possible job roles: advanced fitness instructor, personal trainer
Spectator Safety(June 2012)
Possible job roles: senior steward, marshal
Playwork (June 2012)
Possible job roles: playworker, senior playworker
Advanced Apprenticeship in Leisure Management (September 2011)
Possible job roles: advanced fitness instructor, studio coordinator, personal trainer, and yoga and pilates teacher
Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Development (January 2012)
Possible job roles: community sports development officer, sports specific development officer
This section contains information relevant to Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.
SkillsActve offers three Modern Apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland in the active leisure, learning and wellbeing sector.
These frameworks are held on the Alliance Sector Skills Council Scotland website.
Established in 2007, the Football League Trust (FLT) is funded by the Premier League, the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association to deliver industry leading youth and community development programmes.
Continuing the pioneering work of the national Football in the Community programme, it is the umbrella organisation for 72 community trusts linked to Football League clubs, including 11 in Yorkshire and Humber.
Quality staff training to retain quality staff
The Trust’s Regional Community Manager for Yorkshire & the North East, Angus Martin, says the Trust’s clubs have little trouble recruiting quality staff but with so much competition in the sector, retaining them can be a challenge.
“Staff development is important to all of our clubs but as charities operating in difficult economic times they need to be clever with their money,” Angus says. “That’s why we joined SkillsActive - to source the best training available at the best price.”
Many clubs have undergone huge growth in recent years. But although the Trust has a proud history of investing in coaching development programmes for its front line staff, business development training is less entrenched, Angus says.
A SkillsActive account manager looked over the Trust’s staff appraisals to identify training needs and then presented the Trust with a list of 20 possible courses using two of its recognised provider network. It also secured the Trust a 60% discount by brokering funding from the Skills Funding Agency’s Train to Gain programme, an English Government initiative.
“The funding reduced the training cost for us from £10,000 plus VAT to £4000 plus VAT,” Angus says.
“We decided to put 20 senior managers, representing each club, on five full days of continual professional development through ISPAL. They learned about outcomes based planning, developing effective partnerships, charitable leisure training, managing discipline, grievance and dismissal, and finance for the non-financial manager. Without the funding, the training would not have been feasible for us.”
Trust staff learn skills to deal with challenging behaviour
The Trust’s staff often deliver programmes in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and so need the skills to deal with challenging behaviour, but it had difficulty sourcing conflict management training at an affordable price.
“SkillsActive sourced two different local providers for us and we sent nine staff on Complete Assessment & Training Solutions’ course. They now feel more confident delivering the activities and, if something happens, they understand the right course of action to take.”
Angus encourages other employers to work with SkillsActive on training solutions.
“SkillsActive sources cost effective solutions to our training needs and uses their knowledge of and access to funding steams to offset costs. Our relationship with SkillsActive has certainly proved beneficial to us.”
Welling Wanderers provides football playing opportunities for about 200 seven to 17 year olds. All but one of the 10 coaches are parents of the players who volunteer at least one weeknight and Saturday morning each week to train their team. Among them is Gurjit Ghag, who got involved in the club through his three sons.
"I always attended my boys' games on Saturday mornings, so I thought 'Forget watching from the sidelines, why not get involved?'" he said. "I started out as assistant manager for the under 8s and then began running the under 7's and under 5's."
Welling Wanderers uses a grant from the Football Foundation to train up coaches in the Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football, which provides them with basic coaching skills. But finding the money to take someone as enthusiastic as Gurjit to the next step on the coaching ladder was a challenge for the volunteer-run club.
Fortunately, it heard about the Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund. Led by SkillsActive's National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, the programme is part of the Mayor's plan, 'A Sporting Future for London'. It provides up to 75% off the cost of training to increase the number of Londoners working and volunteering in the sports sector, and up-skill those already involved. All funding recipients need to do in return is volunteer their new found skills in their local community.
Gurjit was one of the first people to benefit from the programme when he started his Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football in October 2010.
"It's a big step up," he said. "I'm learning about professional football techniques, how to plan, conduct and evaluate coaching sessions, as well as how to keep my players safe on and off the field."
Funding recipients have six months to complete their verified volunteer hours. Gurjit is on track to complete his 20 volunteer hours, based on a 75% subsidy, in just two months.
Welling Wanderers club secretary Jim Jackson says Gurjit is a great coach who gets the best out of his players.
"He's a real asset to us - even more so now he's doing his Level 2 because the more he knows, the more he can pass on. Gurjit will stay with Welling Wanderers until his last son is through, so this is an investment in our players for the next 10 years. That's your 2012 Olympic Games legacy right there."
Welling Wanderers is now looking to send Gurjit on additional training so he can become the club's youth development officer. Gurjit says he is looking forward to identifying and nurturing players to bring the best out of them: "For one of our club members to make it all the way would be amazing. It would be a dream for us to produce the next David Beckham."
"Or Chris Powell," added Jim.