ReTrain delivers over 18,000 new sport and physical activity qualifications

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Quick look

  • Almost 16,000 lifeguard and 2,347 sport and exercise qualifications funded through CIMSPA ReTrain programme
  • 99 employers supported, including many public sector leisure providers and small businesses
  • Enabling the sector to retool the workforce in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns

Since launching in August 2020, ReTrain (funded by The National Lottery through Sport England) has supported almost 100 employers with funding for qualifications mapped to CIMSPA professional standards, including many public leisure providers, leisure trusts and small businesses. The programme used a purpose-built digital platform to match employers’ training needs with CIMSPA Training Provider Partner offers and to manage the delivery of qualifications, focused on areas with a particular focus on areas of socio-economic deprivation.

With an initial focus on lifeguard qualifications to allow swimming pools to reopen following the first national lockdown, funding was invested in RLSS UK through August, September and October 2020. This delivered 15,905 new lifeguard qualifications, supporting 254 organisations providing swimming opportunities to the public.

ReTrain also funded 2,347 individual sport, health and fitness qualifications, all mapped to CIMSPA professional standards and delivered by a group of 22 CIMSPA Training Provider Partners. These included qualifications for swimming teachers, pool plant operators, gym instructors, personal trainers, sports coaches, health navigators and entry managers; supporting 100 employers across the country.

One of the employers to benefit from ReTrain funding was Nayna Patel, Senior Teacher at The Splash Academy, Bolton, who said:

“The funding from CIMSPA has transformed our timetable and allowed us to recruit the correct staff to help us grow as a team and increase our provision. We are proud to be in a position to give opportunities to people that will benefit from new training, bringing new skills into our sector.”

Tara Dilllon, CEO of CIMSPA, said:

“I’m delighted with the response to ReTrain from employers and training providers across the sector in England. Being able to inject this funding directly into the sector at the height of the pandemic was critical in keeping our brilliant workforce skilled in their roles and enabling them to continue providing vital services to the public.”

ReTrain was funded by The National Lottery through Sport England and delivered by CIMSPA in conjunction with partners including Community Leisure UK, ukactive, RLSS UK and Freestyle. A full report can be found here.

As part of the one year implementation plan of its Uniting the Movement strategy, Sport England has also confirmed a plan to invest £5m of National Lottery money in ReTrain to Retain - a new programme to provide tools, training and services to enable sector professionals to return to work safely and with confidence, providing opportunities for participation to return to pre-pandemic levels. ReTrain to Retain will also be delivered by CIMSPA, with details to follow in the coming weeks.


The 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, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.


Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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