New Sports Coach apprenticeship to provide additional pathways to a career in sport and physical activity

The new apprenticeship standard has been developed by the sector’s Trailblazer group including major employers, NGBs, UK Sport and Sport England, supported by CIMSPA.

The Sports Coach apprenticeship is at Occupational Level 4 and contains three pathways, allowing applicants to specialise in a specific coaching environment that meets their career aspirations:

  • High Performance Coach: developing athletes and players in high-performance settings, including those on talent or development pathways, national or international programmes, professional or podium environments.

  • Community Sports Coach: motivating and engaging people of all ages and abilities in community sports and physical activity settings. Community sport includes local authority, charity and national governing body of sport community initiatives or clubs.

  • School Sports Coach: collaborating with teachers to develop pupils’ mastery of psychomotor skills by applying a whole child approach in their coaching. Coaches work in all categories of school and registered childcare environments.

The Sports Coach apprenticeship is based on the professional standards for a coach working in these three environments. Apprentices will be able to access CIMSPA student membership during the course, or CIMSPA practitioner membership once it is completed.

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said:

“As the country emerges from the impact of coronavirus, it is more important than ever to provide pathways into and through the sport and physical activity sector. Whether it’s in elite performance, community sport or working with young people, this is a sector that provides excellent career development opportunities. The extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England, announced in the Budget, makes this an even more attractive option for employers. We are delighted to play our part in supporting this new Sports Coach apprenticeship, which will enable more people to enter the sector and achieve a high level professional qualification, recognised by CIMSPA.”

Diccon Edwards, UK Sport Head of Coach Development, said:

“Our aspiration is to ensure coaching is the UK’s recognised competitive advantage and the establishment of this new Level 4 sports coaching apprenticeship will accelerate our ability to achieve this. It also reinforces our commitment to supporting the development of coaching as a profession across the industry, not only in high-performance sport.

Our coach development strategy is designed to develop expert coaches with the craft to work with athletes throughout the talent pathway. Coaches play a critical role in supporting athletes and through the implementation of this industry recognised apprenticeship, underpinned by the new professional standards for sports coaching, we have a unique platform from which to offer world-leading on the job learning and development for coaches.

We are very grateful for the hard work and support of CIMSPA and IfATE and excited to identify our first cohort of coaches to benefit from our new UK Sport High-Performance Coach Apprenticeship Programme (HiCAP), which is set to launch spring 2021.”

Details of the Sports Coach apprenticeship can be found at


Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA's work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gym, coaching, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.

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