Case Study: Active Suffolk - CIMSPA Employer Partner

Active Suffolk Case Study Graphic

Active Suffolk was the first Active Partnership to become a lead CIMSPA Employer Partner. Sharing our vision for a regulated, respected, and recognised sport and physical activity sector, we discuss the different ways our partnership has benefitted Active Suffolk, its workforce and the wider sector.

Working closely with CIMSPA Partnership team, Active Suffolk is actively supporting the careers and development of its workforce. We interview Susannah Challis, Workforce Development Officer at Active Suffolk to learn more.
Susannah Challis 3

Susannah Challis

Workforce Development Officer

Active Suffolk

Q1. Why does Active Suffolk and other sector employers value CIMSPA partnership?

“Active Suffolk was the first Active Partnership in England to work with CIMSPA in an lead employer partner capacity. This has enabled us to use our influence to promote CIMSPA’s work across the county’s entire sport and physical activity sector encouraging or workforce to become CIMSPA members and in the process professionalising the entire workforce in Suffolk.

The relationship with CIMSPA allows us to participate as industry experts working alongside their awarding organisation and skill development partners to develop the ‘professional standards’ for the sector’s job roles. These professional standards set out the benchmark for the development of future qualifications, training programmes, apprenticeships etc. ensuring that the sector has an appropriately skilled workforce.”

Q2. Why does Active Suffolk employees and the wider sector value CIMSPA membership?

“One of the main benefits to our employees is access to the vast amount of soft skill development opportunities available through the CIMSPA Academy. Although we are a small organisation, we have employees with varying membership types all the way from Affiliate through to Fellowship and with over 1,300 courses available, there really is something for everyone!

Membership allows our employees to achieve recognition and status as a member of the sector’s only chartered professional body. With clear professional standards in place our employees who want to progress within the sector know what knowledge and skills they may need to develop in order to achieve their goals."

Q3.What benefits has the CIMSPA partnership provided to Active Suffolk?

“Becoming a lead CIMSPA Employer Partner has allowed us to make a greater impact in Suffolk, acting as the lead body for a wider consortium so that people can access CIMSPA membership benefits via us and receiving a 20% discount off their membership. This has led to an increase in CIMSPA membership, allowing us as a County, to become one step closer to our goal of professionalising the workforce in Suffolk.

Having access to the online membership directory has been hugely beneficial, allowing us to look for members with certain skills and qualifications, which has been particularly useful when looking at what skills we have versus what skills we need as a sector, therefore helping us shape our workforce offer and CPD programme for the future."

Q4. What did the partnership process reveal or help Active Suffolk consider?

“As an Active Partnership, we also deliver First Aid and Safeguarding courses as part of our Club and Coach Programme. After recognising all the benefits of being in partnership with CIMSPA we also made the decision to become a CIMSPA Training Provider Partner. As such, we were supported all the way through the endorsement process of the courses and now have CIMSPA kitemark of quality assurance."

Q5. How is Active Suffolk using CIMSPA membership / partnership status to improve the development of staff?

“We actively encourage our own staff to complete CPD, both via the CIMSPA Academy and by wider sector recognised CPD that will help them develop in their careers. We also regularly promote CIMSPA membership and CIMSPA endorsed development opportunities via our newsletters and website to the wider workforce in Suffolk."

Q6.Are there any noticeable frontline changes in your organisation since the CIMSPA partnership?

“We have seen a definite increase in membership in Suffolk which we believe is largely down to the employer partnership we have in place with CIMSPA. As we work with a large number of self-employed individual instructors as part of our Fit Villages and Active Wellbeing projects this partnership has allowed us to offer discounts on membership and target those individuals who we feel will benefit from being part of the sectors chartered professional body."

Q7.How do you think a CIMSPA regulated sector will help your organisation to…

  • Increase retention...
    "By having clear career pathways in place and knowing what skills and experience they need to fulfil those roles will definitely help individuals looking to progress within our organisation, rather than going elsewhere. It also allows us to provide support and guidance for the whole workforce within the sector."

  • Improve our sector's reputation...
    "Being part of the only chartered professional body will help us to build trust with other organisations within and outside of our sector. It speaks to other professional sectors that we have a structure which maps to theirs and allows collaborative engagement at the right level of skill and experience."

  • Increase cross sector collaboration...
    "Being part of a CIMSPA regulated sector not only showcases our professionalism as an organisation but also demonstrates to other sectors that the sport and physical activity sector has a value in terms of economic impact, which is interlinked and supports other sectors in the economy."

Q8. What would you say to active partnerships and other sector employers that are considering a CIMSPA partnership but are currently undecided?

"With Sport England’s backing, other Active Partnerships already onboard, and based on our experience to date, it is definitely the right decision to make!

Throughout the whole process we have had nothing but support from Danny, our Partnerships Executive and his colleagues who have been very attentive to our needs and always at the end of the phone to answer any questions. Nothing is ever too much trouble. CIMSPA have acted with complete professionalism and you know you can trust their people to fulfil Sport England’s workforce development goals.So, if you are serious about developing & professionalising the workforce, then what are you waiting for, sign up today!"

Q9. Do you have any comments you would like to add?

“Since our first engagement with CIMSPA back in 2018, things have certainly gone from strength to strength and with the help of Sport England’s investment, collectively we are making great progress along our journey of transforming the delivery of sport and physical activity services to help create a well-trained and highly skilled workforce for the sector.”

Learn more about Active Suffolk

Join the sector's leading employers

Please complete the following form to express your interest in becoming a CIMSPA Employer Partner and to receive more information.

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