Sport and physical activity in Leicestershire chosen as one of eight Local Skills Improvement Plan ‘trailblazers’

Personal trainer with client

CIMSPA, together with Leicestershire Colleges, Leicester & Rutland Sport and the East Midlands Chamber, put together a successful bid based on the vital role that sport and physical activity can play in the overall health and prosperity of the Leicestershire and Leicester City areas.

The success of the bid in being selected for these two programmes highlights the great progress made in putting sport and physical activity high up the agenda for the Government, and recognition of the central role the sector can play in society as part of the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

CIMSPA and the colleges involved - Loughborough College, Leicester College, the SMB Group, and North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College - will explore how the further education and physical activity sectors can play a role in health and the wider economy – particularly around preventative health and long Covid recovery, as well as other social issues such as youth crime, education, the ageing population and social mobility.

The bid set out the case for positioning sport and physical activity as an extension of the National Health Service, in alignment with the Government’s Sporting Future and Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategies. It also highlighted that the sport and physical activity sector is significantly ahead in its development of an employer-led skills system, with CIMSPA leading the development of a single set of professional standards and the alignment of over 1,000 instances of training including apprenticeships, National Diplomas and Degrees.

For the past nine months, a collaboration between CIMSPA, County Active Partnerships and local further education providers on six pilot projects has also led to successful engagement with large numbers of employers.

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said:

“It’s fantastic news that this joint bid has been chosen for these two initiatives. This is a significant recognition from the Government of the vital role that our sector can play in the health and prosperity of the population within Leicestershire, but also across the nation. It is also recognition of the progress made in recent years to professionalise the sector and its workforce. “Sport and physical activity directly contributes to the physical health of a population, but can also help to tackle inequality, mental health, loneliness and community cohesion. As a profession, we have an excellent track record of providing high quality, highly skilled job opportunities for young people and providing career pathways that encourage social mobility. “This will benefit all parts of the sector, including further and higher education institutions, training providers, awarding organisations and employers. We see this as a blueprint for the future and, if successful, we will aim to roll it out nationally.”

Jo Maher, Principal & CEO at Loughborough College, said:

“Collaboration is the key to supporting the skills-led recovery from Covid. The impact on human health has never been more important to understand and to improve. We’re so delighted to work with all the Leicestershire general further education colleges, CIMSPA and the Chamber because, through our shared value set and excellent employer network, we can support our fantastic region, and beyond, to thrive.”

The Local Skills Improvement Plan trailblazers are designed to set out the key changes needed to make technical skills training more responsive to employers’ skills needs within a local area, backed with £4m of funding.

The Government’s eighteen Strategic Development Fund pilots, with £65m of funding, will support the development of a high-value curriculum offer, in support of longer-term skills priorities in a local area, and strengthen the relationship between education providers and employers. For more information, click here.


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.


Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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