New GLL and CIMSPA partnership to develop future sector managers

CAPTION: Official signing of the GLL and CIMSPA agreement by Mark Sesnan (MD GLL), Tara Dillon (CEO CIMSPA) and witnessed by Lorraine Patrinos (associate director GLL) and Mac Cleves (head of GLL College)GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), a social enterprise currently managing 260 leisure, library and children’s centres, has signed an employer partnership agreement with CIMSPA. The partnership will support GLL managers in being professional chartered members of CIMSPA through an accredited training and development programme for the workforce and wider leisure community, via a network of education hubs nationwide.

In addition to the employer partnership, GLL also became a skills development partner following their huge success in obtaining a direct grant with the Skills Funding Agency to deliver employer led apprenticeships. This also means that GLL are the first leisure operator to establish both CIMSPA partnerships.

The partnership agreement was signed on the launch day of GLL’s first Supervisors’ Academy – a group of 20 supervisors and aspiring supervisors who have embarked on a 12-month programme to complete a modular education programme based on CIMSPA’s entry management qualification. The programme includes college days covering key business modules, such as financial and people management, and applied learning in the workplace delivered jointly by GLL senior managers and Lifetime Training, GLL’s training provider.

The programme is even more ground-breaking as it pilots the delivery of the new leisure duty manager apprenticeship standard by underpinning the CIMSPA Level 3 diploma in operational management and leadership, and by undertaking end point assessment activity.

The group is made up of 20 ambitious employees who are participating in the programme after a rigorous assessment and selection programme including presentations, problem-solving group work and interviews. Following a presentation to senior managers on their chosen business project at the end of the scheme, those who ‘pass out’ will be an important part of GLL’s succession planning strategy.

Future plans include delivering the Supervisors’ Academy modules as standalone training modules for the whole workforce via the GLL College, developing the GLL Management and Leadership Academy aligned to CIMSPA’s level 5 syllabus, and moving GLL’s level 3 fitness instructors into CIMSPA’s new practitioner memberships for exercise and fitness professionals.

Tara Dillon, Chief Executive of CIMSPA, attended a special ceremony to celebrate the launch of the new academy. She said: “GLL is renowned for the standard of its staff training and development, so it’s no surprise that it is pioneering this new education model for supervisory staff who want to enter management. Our new partnership means that we can work together to not only develop future managers for GLL, but for the sector as a whole.”

The GLL associate director of learning & organisational development, Lorraine Patrinos added: “We are very excited about our CIMSPA partnership. Learning and home-growing staff is at the core of our social enterprise ethos and the partnership with CIMSPA will help us to deliver this vision. The level 3 modules are different – it’s about applied learning in the work place and will provide an important stepping stone for staff to become leisure professionals and progress into management. This group is made up of bright and ambitious staff who will be the ambassadors and role models for others who also want to develop and progress. We are proud to be delivering this scheme with our partners, CIMSPA and Lifetime Training.”



Launched in 2011, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) is the professional development body for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector. CIMSPA provides leadership and support for professionals working in sport and physical activity and a single unified voice for the sector. The organisation’s strategic priorities include providing direct opportunities for young leaders to grow and succeed, and leading the development and management of career pathways. CIMSPA was awarded chartered status by the Royal Privy Council, in January 2012.

About GLL/Better

Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. Under the consumer-facing brand Better, the organisation operates more than 200 public sport and leisure centres and 57 libraries in partnership with more than 30 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. Better leisure facilities enjoy 40 million visitors a year and have more than 650,000 members.

GLL exists to make community services and spaces better for everyone. In practice, that means investing all profits back into providing quality leisure and fitness facilities for the good of the communities where GLL operates. Alongside the organisation’s core leisure and library divisions, GLL runs sport and legacy development, health intervention and education, as well as offering the GLL Sports Foundation, one of the largest independent support programmes for talented young athletes in the UK.

Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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