Leisure sector unites to launch EmployAbility leisure guidance

CIMSPA is working with Aspire to launch EmployAbility Leisure today, an initiative to create more accessible and inclusive training and workplaces for disabled people in the leisure sector.

Aspire is releasing three guides to support the industry to attract more disabled people to the sector workforce.

Although 1 in 5 of the working-age population in the UK are classed as disabled, only 52% are employed compared to 81% of non-disabled people, and there are indications that the employment gap is far greater within the leisure sector workforce.

It is recognised by many industry stakeholders that the fitness and leisure sector is often portrayed in narrow terms that lacks diversity and inclusivity.

The guides have been produced by Aspire, a disability charity and community leisure operator, following its successful ‘InstructAbility’ programme which helped hundreds of disabled people become qualified fitness professionals.

There are three guides available:

  • Guide A for disabled people, ‘Training and working in the fitness and leisure sector’ is a guide to inform and inspire disabled people to start a career in the sector.
  • Guide B for training providers and awarding bodies, ‘Training disabled learners in the fitness and leisure sector’ supports those delivering training to provide inclusive and accessible courses.
  • Guide C for employers, ‘Employing disabled people in the fitness and leisure sector’ provides guidance about inclusion and how to become a disability confident employer and recruit and develop more disabled staff.

CIMSPA will take an active role in raising standards of access and inclusion in training through an endorsement and quality assurance role.

“Everyone deserves the same opportunity to find fulfilling work in a job where they can progress, including in the health and fitness industry,” The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith said. “Lack of accessibility and understanding of the support available can be a barrier to disabled people entering the workforce, and these Guides will provide further vital help for employers and employees to know what help they can get and how to access it.”

Hilary Farmiloe, EmployAbility Leisure Strategic Lead at Aspire said “We welcome the collective effort of industry leaders to continue to push the EmployAbility Leisure agenda and challenge our whole sector to build diverse workforces with disabled people represented across many roles and at all levels”

The initiative is funded by Sport England, that has placed tackling inequalities at the heart of its ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy. It’s backed by ukactive, Activity Alliance, UK Coaching and Community Leisure UK.



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.