The number of apprentices in the sport and active leisure sector has increased 600% in the past five years, according to statistics released in time for England’s National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February).
SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Sport and Active Leisure, issued 9,342 Apprenticeship certificates in the year ending September 2011- up from 1,271 in 2006.
SkillsActive interim CEO Suki Kalirai says the figures show more employers in sport, fitness, caravans, playwork and the outdoors are realising the value of Apprenticeships.
“By using Apprenticeships to train new and existing staff, these employers are reducing business costs, investing in their future workforce and helping alleviate the nation’s unemployment crisis.”
Fit for Sport training manager Jack Shakespeare says 15% of the organisation’s 70 permanent staff train through Apprenticeship programmes; by 2013, he 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. “We are using Apprenticeship programmes to build a well-trained, motivated and loyal workforce which will help us grow and develop our business.”
Outdoor education provider PGL has 180 apprentices across its operations in the UK and France.
PGL Apprenticeship programme manager, Jo Mortimer says: “Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to provide staff who may not have travelled the academic route with the skills and qualifications we require. Many of our apprentices have developed their management skills and gone on to work at higher levels within the business.”
Apprenticeships are a package of on-the-job training and qualifications which take between one and four years to complete. There are 13 Apprenticeship frameworks available in the sport and active leisure sector in England, covering job roles as diverse as activity leadership, playwork and spectator safety. SkillsActive has designed each framework in consultation with sector employers, to ensure they provide the skills businesses need.
Suki explains that Apprenticeship programmes are not just suited to large employers; small and medium sized businesses now have the opportunity to access funded training through SkillsActive’s Group Training Association.
“Our Group Training Association enables employers running small to medium enterprises to group together and access funded training that would otherwise be out of their reach. This training is delivered through SkillsActive’s network of approved National Skills Academy training providers.
“I encourage all employers, whatever their size, to talk to one of our account managers about how Apprenticeships could work for them.”
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2012, SkillsActive is offering a FREE training package to the first 25 employers to register their interest in Apprenticeship funding on our website.
To learn more about Apprenticeships in the sport and active leisure sector, and how your business can benefit, please visit www.skillsactive.com/takethelead