Activity Sheffield deliver a variety of sport, play and activity sessions across the city, with the goal of leading the city to a more active, healthy and sporting future.
Richard says, traditionally, Activity Sheffield recorded staff training on paper. Details were entered into a spreadsheet programme and manually updated once a year as part of an individual's performance appraisal.
"We wanted a more modern way of recording and maintaining personal training records," he says.
Richard organised a demonstration of the activepassport through SkillsActive. The activepassportTM is an online tool that provides a verified record of an individual's training, qualifications and personal and professional achievements. It reduces administration by recording achievements, identifying skills gaps and setting reminders for training renewals and refreshers. It also quickly identifies individual and organisational training needs.
Easy access to training records
Richard says the electronic system appealed because it could hold all staff qualifications in one place and be easily updated. He bought 120 activepassportTM for Activity Sheffield's permanent staff who have now entered their training, qualifications, personal and professional details into the system. They will also soon upload their certificates.
"We've got coaches, development officers, operational managers, and office staff all using the system," Richard says. "The feedback is it's easy to use and navigate their way around, even for those who are less computer literate."
Alerts keep qualifications current
Activity Sheffield has used the system to produce reports identifying skills gaps.
"I like the fact that it flags up when staff qualifications expire so you don't have a situation where, for instance, a person's first aid certificate has run out and they're no longer qualified in that area," Richard says.
"The report also identifies if there are several people requiring training in a key area so we can then set up a course for them. And if a staff member leading a coaching session calls in sick, we can search through activepassportTM and see who else is qualified to take the session."
Saves time and creates staff incentive
The activepassport reduces the paperwork and time taken to record staff training, Richard says. It also shows staff that Activity Sheffield takes workforce development seriously.
"Staff are able to upload their training goals onto the system, so we can see these and help them to progress. They know that by putting this system in place, Activity Sheffield genuinely cares about them and investing in their professional development."
In the future, Activity Sheffield plans to extend the activepassportTM to its 80 casual and part time staff. It also wants to use the tool as an incentive for volunteers.
"The activepassport is an excellent way to capture staff training electronically. It's easy to use, it saves time and it's given us a proper hold on staff training. I'm not aware of anything else like it."
Mark says the leisure industry has a steady turnover rate so keeping quality staff is critical. He is committed to the training and development of SCL workforce, with special emphasis on staff recruitment and retention at its seven facilities.
"We have a development plan for everybody at SCL from me down, which is reviewed twice yearly," he says. "It combines training for job specific skills with future development potential. So even if a person doesn't want to progress beyond their current job, they've got the training to stay motivated and energised and improve the way they carry it out."
SCL works with SkillsActive to supply staff with a "menu of relevant, meaningful training" up to NVQ level 4.
"SkillsActive provides a single point of contact for our training needs and requirements. The most junior person benefitting from brokered training is a greeter and the most senior is a centre manager."
Apprenticeships provide the work-ready people we need
Mark says the active leisure industry needs commonsense people with strong intrapersonal skills and practical skills. He believes in career progression through vocational training and is also a firm advocate of apprenticeships.
"Apprenticeships allow people who are more practically focussed to gain the appropriate qualifications to work in our sector. And with the government cut back on spending, and University caps, apprenticeships are more relevant now than ever before."
SCL has provided about six people with apprenticeships in the past year, mainly in leisure attendance and recreation assistant roles.
"In the past we've experienced considerable turnover because people find their way to us by accident as opposed to actually wanting to be involved in the industry. We want people to come to us because they've chosen it as a career, and apprenticeships, which are designed by SkillsActive, are a good way for us to achieve this."
Investing in tomorrow's workforce today
To ensure it has a workforce with the right skills to meet anticipated future growth, the company signed up for the Future Jobs Fund Programme.
The Future Jobs Fund programme, delivered by SkillsActive’s National Skills Academy, provided 5000 young unemployed people with six months training and work experience in the sport and active leisure sector. It was funded by the government and supported by 175 employer partners nationwide.
"They proved very useful to us, and we felt as though we were providing them with meaningful work experience. This gave us the confidence to take on more people."
Activepassport gives employers confidence
By working with SkillsActive's network of recognised training providers, Mark ensures his staff access quality training. But verifying the training completed by prospective staff can be difficult. For this reason, Mark volunteered Sencio to be one of the first companies to trial the activepassport system.
Activepassport is a secure online record of an individual's skills, qualifications and training, which is independently verified. Fourteen staff at Sencio populated their activepassport as part of the trial in mid-2010, and Mark says the system has a lot of potential.
"As an individual, it helps you keep an accurate record of your training and skills. As an employer; it gives you confidence that any prospective candidate has in fact undertaken the quality leisure specific training they claim."
"I would like to see everybody involved in the sector have an activepassport to follow them throughout their career."
YMCA fit is
Established in 1984, YMCAfit is one of the UK's leading trainers of fitness professionals. We have developed the largest portfolio of fitness training products available in the UK. We are guided by the belief that every member of society should be able to access the health benefits of regular physical activity.
We believe that everyone should be able to access the health benefits of regular exercise. We both initiate and partner with projects that help the fitness industry to become more inclusive.
Central YMCA is a large registered charity, established in 1844 and the world's founding YMCA. Central YMCA works at local, national and international levels to improve standards in health and fitness provision, participation and education.
Telephone: 020 7343 1850
Our mission at Discovery Learning is to deliver innovative, high quality fitness training courses that are flexible and affordable to allow anyone to access them. We specialise in blended learning which incorporates a home-study component and attendance tutorials. This allows you to enter the fitness industry without having to take time off work and break your bank account, but still receive quality training with leading tutors in the field.
At Discovery Learning we are proud of our quality and high success rates (98% pass rates) and have been labelled one of the leading provider of Fitness and Nutrition courses. Evidence of this quality can be seen in our excellent Quality Audits from top awarding bodies (CYQ and Active IQ) in the fitness industry. We are also delighted to say that Discovery Learning, and its sister company Weight Management Centre, have been delivering weight management and obesity training to Health Authorities and Primary Care for 6 years. While the Weight Management Centre is on the Department of Health List of Obesity Trainers (seen at www.domuk.org), as compiled by Dieticians in Obesity Management (DOM). Additionally, we are also one of only seven companies to be appointed on the Dept. of Health Framework of Childhood Obesity Providers.
For further info, see the products and services offered by the Centre of Excellence.
Located in Twickenham a stone s throw from the RFU National Stadium, the College is one of the largest tertiary colleges in London. Providing a wide range of curriculum choices including A Levels and vocational studies to approximately 4,500 full-time students and 2000 part time students. Training Solutions is the College employer training arm offering a range of commercial training provision.