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Partnership apprentices

Active Leisure and Learning Apprenticeships through SkillsActive

The Active Leisure sector is made up of five sub-sectors:

  • sport and recreation,
  • health and fitness,
  • playwork,
  • the outdoors,
  • and caravans.

An estimated 65,000 people work in London in the sector, with 14,000 of that workforce between the ages of 16-24 (22%).

There are currently 71 Active Leisure sector employers known to be offering apprenticeships across London. SkillsActive are the sector skills council with responsibility for the Active Leisure and Learning apprenticeships framework.

Apprenticeships specific to the Active Leisure sector include:

  • Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships in Active Leisure and Learning, which provide opportunities for young people and adults to develop a mix of practical and technical skills that will allow them to both develop at work and, where applicable, progress to higher education.
  • Advanced Apprenticeships in Sporting Excellence (AASE) designed to meet the needs of young people (aged 16-18) who have the realistic potential to achieve excellence in their sport and are seeking to perform at the highest level as their main career goal.
  • Young Apprenticeships (YA) which provide an opportunity for 14 to 16 year-olds to combine their academic studies with a blend of vocational qualifications and work placements

Within the framework four pathways are available:

  • Exercise and Fitness
  • Playwork
  • Coaching/ Outdoors/Operations
  • Spectator Safety

These cover a range of career pathways including sports coaching, fitness instructing, leisure centre operations, leisure management, playwork, spectator safety, sports development, activity leadership and outdoor programmes.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea


The Kensington and Chelsea Community Sport and Physical Activity Network (CSPAN) identified workforce development as one of their key areas of interest. With support from PRO-ACTIVE Central a CSPAN sub-group was created intended to look at workforce issues across the borough from a range of employment perspectives.

The Workforce Development Sub-Group, led by the RBKC, consisted mainly of employers. However, Kensington and Chelsea College and Connexions were invited onto the group, as key partners, to keep the group up to speed with policy developments. As part of an exercise, identifying the needs of employers in any new roles/ staff and the needs of their current employees, supporting progression Apprenticeships was raised as a key area of interest. Some further information about what an Apprenticeship is and how they work in the Active Leisure and Learning Sector was gathered and 12 employers decided they would like to pursue the opportunity to take on new staff through an apprentice role.

The employers committed to support the apprentice financially and with the training required to complete the apprenticeship. Several of the employers are charities and community based enterprises who subsequently came together to make an application for financial support to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea for capacity building in order to increase the services they are providing in the borough. Kensington and Chelsea College met with each employer and also ran a training event which included a tour of the college so that all the employers felt they knew and understood the experience their apprentice would be having.

In order to create a peer support route for the apprentices, a commitment was made to advertise the vacancies at the same time and ensured that 'college days' were simultaneous so that the apprentices were brought together across the borough as often as possible.

Ten apprentices have been recruited and they started work in September 2009. So far the feedback has been very positive and plans are already underway for more employers to commit to more places next year.

"All the CSPAN partners have worked really hard to get this pilot scheme off the ground. When we came together our prime motivation was to get more local people better skilled to face the future challenges facing the sport and leisure industry. There is still a long way to go but we believe we have made giant strides in the right direction."
Christopher Allen - Chair, CSPAN Workforce Development Sub-Group



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