The Cast

The Cast brings you updates from the CIMSPA Team along with interviews with professionals working across the sport and physical activity sector, showcasing innovative practice and new developments.

Our podcast interviews share how our sector is developing and impacting communities and individuals.

To share your story and be part of a future edition of The Cast get in touch at

Previous editions of The Cast

In this edition of The Cast during Mental Health Awareness Week, Ben Hulson, Regional Manager and Wellbeing Lead at CIMSPA has been finding out more about the Centre for Mental Health, Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill University from Professor Andy Smith.

Ben and Andy discuss the work taking place at the Centre, the important role that the sector has in mental health and wellbeing, and how the University is preparing the sport and physical activity professionals of the future.

In this edition of The Cast Adam Hill, CIMSPA Senior Manager Chartered Fellow who is CEO of Mansfield District Council, shares his career journey from Lifeguard to Chief Executive and how the skills that he developed through working in sport and physical activity have helped him throughout his career. Adam also shares his experiences of the positive impact that sport and physical activity has on communities and the importance of place-based collaboration.

Ben Hulson, CIMSPA Regional Manager and Wellbeing Lead talking to Sam Perks, Physical Activity Operations Manager at Mind about the support that is available to support practitioners and employers with mental health and wellbeing. They also look ahead to Mental Health Awareness Week.

Natasha Eason, Associate Director of the National Training Academy and Education at CIMSPA gives an update on our Quality Assurance Framework for education providers.

In this edition of The Cast Liam McCaffrey MCIMSPA(Ch), Personal Trainer and Clinical Exercise Specialist shares his career journey and his experience of becoming Chartered. Find out more about Chartered status.

We have part two of the conversation between Regional Skills Hub Manager Tom Armstrong and Workforce Development Officer Lead from Active Suffolk, Susannah Challis, to hear more about the impact of their skills development project. You can find out more about this work on the Active Suffolk website.

And finally we are joined by Clare Dunn, Associate Director of Business Engagement at CIMSPA with a quick explainer about the work that is happening across the UK to develop skills through Local Skills Accountability Boards (LSABs).

Learn more about the CIMSPA’s Local Skills Delivery Project.

In this special edition of The Cast, we explore the benefits of Apprenticeships to the sport and physical activity sector, both for people looking to start or progress their career, and for employers.

Colin Huffen, Associate Director of Policy and Professional Services at CIMSPA discusses how the sector is building a strong foundation of Apprenticeship opportunities and the benefits that organisations can harness by offering Apprenticeship pathways for new entrants to the sector and as part of career progression.

Jack Garner, Regional Director at Serco Leisure, explains how Serco has embraced Apprenticeships across their operations and the benefits that it is bringing for recruiting and retaining great team members and how it is helping to develop people across the business.

And finally Paul Thompson, Director of People and Learning at Coach Core, shares how they, as a training provider, are working with large and small organisations to provide Apprenticeship opportunities that are helping young people from challenging backgrounds gain fantastic experiences and develop strong skills, helping them to get their career in the sector off to a great start.

In this edition of The Cast Extra, we’ve been exploring some innovative work taking place within the sector which is helping to make physical activity more attractive and accessible to women.

We were delighted to speak to Jo McEwan and Christien Bird from Menopause Movement, a CIMSPA Education Partner that provides CPD to fitness and health professionals plus employers in the health, wellbeing and physical activity sectors who want to extend their knowledge and practical skills needed to work with menopausal women to improve their minds and bodies.

Their work is helping to support fitness and active wellbeing professionals to more confidently train and teach women pre, peri and post-menopause.

In the podcast, Jo and Christien explain the barriers that many women face to participating and why a greater focus on the female body through key life stages helps women gain greater benefit from engaging in physical activity.

We also speak to Charlotte Riddle and the team from Places Leisure, a CIMSPA Employer Partner, who have developed pilot programmes designed to engage women in activity and improve their health and wellbeing through dedicated provision tailored to support women pre, peri and post-menopause. Places Leisure are seeing fantastic results from this work and in the podcast their share how they are delivering the programme within their communities and the incredible positive impact that it is having on the health and wellbeing of women and their engagement with physical activity.

And finally, we speak to Cathy Houghton, a CIMSPA member and practitioner about how she has developed her practice and her business through specialist knowledge and skill development that has enabled her to offer even greater support to her clients.

In this edition of The Cast:

Regional Skills Hub Manager Tom Armstrong kicks this edition off by catching up with the Workforce Development Officer Lead from Active Suffolk, Susannah Challis, to hear all about the impact of their skills development project.

Learn more about the CIMSPA Local Skills Delivery Project

Phill Wright, our Head of Insight & Business Transformation, takes a look into the Workforce Insight Report 2023 and tells listeners why it offers the most comprehensive grasp of the sport & physical activity workforce to date.

Find out more and download the report

We’ll also hear from Micki Ruggins, the Technical Education Officer here at CIMSPA, who’ll be telling us all about the exciting new support available for education providers that will assist learners who are considering a career in the sector.

Finally, Sara Byrne from our Education team reveals more details around the launch of our new partnership offer for further education colleges.

To discover more about the benefits for your learners email the team at

In this special ‘extra’ episode of The Cast we spoke to Baz Moffat, CEO, The Well HQ, Scott Donnelly, Regional Manager, The Gym Group and Kerry Spark, Personal Trainer, The Gym Group about their joint pilot project which has been designed to upskill trainers and build their confidence to work with female clients.

The pilot with The Gym Group, the UK’s second largest gym chain, was the result of a concerted effort from CIMSPA Education Partners, The Well HQ, to show the importance of evidence-based learning for trainers working with women, to train them more effectively, safely and cater to their exercise needs.

Delivering workshops over 10 weeks to 50 trainers located at 18 gyms from Glasgow to Eastbourne, the aim was to give personal trainers, working on the gym floor, the confidence and knowledge about women’s bodies to support them to exercise comfortably and effectively.

Learn more about the aims of the programme, ‘The Female Body Course’ from Baz, and what her, and The Well HQ’s, motivating factors were for creating the course and running the pilot.

Kerry was one of the Gym Group trainers that participated in the pilot programme. Hear more about Kerry’s experience, as she talks about how the training has helped her to support clients: “It’s given me the confidence to have good conversations with my’s great to bring an evidence base like this to the gym floor.”

Scott also touches on the incredibly positive results of the programme, and how The Gym Group intends to maximise the positive impact of the pilot and the strong outcomes it has provided.

This is not one to be missed, so grab your headphones and find out more about this innovative project.

In this edition of The Cast:

  • George Sheldon and Jason Leker from the CIMSPA Membership Team discuss the career development support that is available for anyone considering their next steps in the sport and physical activity sector and the benefits of becoming a chartered practitioner or manager.

    They also share some useful tips on making the most of your CIMSPA member benefits. Log in to access your member benefits
  • Skills Hub Manager for the South West, Simon Barnes interviews newly appointed CEO of Active Cornwall, Paul Critchley and asks him to share his priorities.

  • Sean Longhurst from Propel Teams joins us with an update on the Digital Marketing Hub and the popular accelerator programmes which offer free to access development and advice to support practitioners with their digital marketing activity. Find out more

    Listen to part two of the conversation with Dani Halsall and Andy Gray, Skills Hub Managers about their work with employers and the innovative work they are seeing in the North of England. Discover more about our local skills work here

Your monthly CIMSPA podcast is back with the latest news and updates from the team and a feature interview with Chair of the CIMSPA board of Trustees, Marc Woods.

Also in this edition:

Catherine Kane, Careers Hub Manager, discusses the relaunch of CIMSPA’s career development resources and how you can get the information you need to progress in your career or start a new career in the sector.

Visit the Careers Hub

Phill Wright, Head of Insight and Business Transformation, has an update on member webinars, telling us about the broad range of external speakers and topics you can expect to hear, from working with specialist populations to business and marketing guidance.

Our next webinar focuses on ‘Latest Participation Trends and looks at physical activity trends such as how people are changing their behaviour, habits and perceptions over the last 12 months.
Look out for an email from CIMSPA with details on how you can register!

Don’t forget – all future webinar content is dictated by you. If you have suggestions for future topics please email either or, alternatively contact us through any of our social media channels found at the bottom of this page.

Dani Halsall and Andy Gray, Skills Hub Managers, talk about their work with employers, education providers and other partners around the country to ensure the right training is delivered in the right place, at the right time.

Welcome to the first edition of The Cast from CIMSPA.

This edition includes:

  • Tara Dillon, CEO discussing the recent report from the Health Foundation.
  • Andy Heald, CIMSPA member and Chair of the Community Professional Development Committee.
  • Helen Hiley, Education Manager providing an update on our work with HEIs following the recent focus on graduate employability.
  • Colin Huffen, Head of Workforce Policy and Public Affairs on the new professional standard for working with women and girls.
  • Natasha Eason, Head of Education with an update on CIMSPA’s new quality assurance framework.