Suffolk’s Sport & Physical Activity Sector to play a key role in the recovery from the pandemic.

Suffolk’s Sport & Physical Activity Sector to play a key role in the recovery from the pandemic.

Posted: Tue, 23 Nov 2021 08:00

Suffolk’s Sport & Physical Activity Sector to play a key role in the recovery from the pandemic.

Active Suffolk in partnership with a wide range of key partners and business organisations has published a Skills Strategy for the Sport & Physical Activity Sector in Suffolk.

The Skills Strategy utilises a needs-led, evidence-based approach and has been developed through consultation with employers, the sector workforce (both employed and freelance) and key stakeholders, including FE colleges, CIMSPA, Local Authorities, University of Suffolk, DWP, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk Growth Partnership.

Consultation has provided Active Suffolk with national leading insight into the skill shortages across the sector and resulted in headline recommendations for the next five years to develop a workforce that is customer centric, inclusive and equipped with the right skills to initiate meaningful behaviour change and realise wider health and socio-economic benefits.

The Sport & Physical Activity Sector Skills Strategy will enable the development of the workforce and address the key skills gaps which have widened during the Covid Pandemic. This will ensure the sector develops the skills and competencies required to be flexible, competent, and fit for purpose.

Abbeycroft Leisure have recently been able to offer several young people permanent positions following the government funded Kickstart scheme, which has been life changing to many individuals struggling with their mental wellbeing and ability to secure a job, particularly as a result of the pandemic:

JT, Kickstarter said:

"Abbeycroft has been the perfect employer for me coming out of a tough lockdown. I have felt very welcome by every member of staff within Abbeycroft and have enjoyed becoming part of the team. I have learnt so much and improved my skills, not just in a working environment but also physically and mentally improved myself with continued support from the team around me who have been so supportive, informative and genuinely caring.

I would recommend the Kickstart scheme to anyone; it was exactly what I needed to not only recover from the pandemic but to better myself and have a better quality of life. I was originally sceptical about the Kickstart position, but Abbeycroft has gone above and beyond, and I would honestly say it has changed my life.

It hasn't been easy; I have been presented with tough obstacles and challenges but every time I learnt something valuable and transferable. I take great pride in my role and achievements at Abbeycroft and enjoy how my objectives and tasks can change from day to day and present new challenges.

I feel strongly that the benefits gained from my Kickstarter experience has inspired a healthier, happier and more independent version of myself. I aim to keep improving to be in the position to help others as much as Abbeycroft has helped me."

This Strategy comes at a key time, as we strive to further increase levels of physical activity, to make the whole workforce healthier, resilient, and more productive to make a significant contribution to the economic recovery following the COVID-19 Pandemic.

We know the important role local people play in motivating people to take part in physical activity. To achieve this, we must broaden the role of the workforce so that more people are supported, both into activity and in keeping them active. The proportion of days lost to sickness in Suffolk is 50% above the national average and the estimated costs to the NHS caused by physical inactivity is £134 Million per year.

Through detailed analysis of sector training needs and comprehensive labour market analysis, the Sector Skills Plan has identified:

  • The skill shortages across the current workforce
    • How the sectors workforce needs are being met through current education providers
    • Evidenced the economic benefit and role sport and physical activity can play in developing transferable skills for employers across a range of sectors.

Inco the economic recovery owing the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Susannah Challis, Workforce Development Officer at Active Suffolk said:

"A healthy population is more productive and more economically active. With stubborn health inequalities widening due to the impact of Covid-19, the Sport and Physical Activity sector will play a vital role in supporting the economic and health recovery from the pandemic. It is essential we build a workforce fit for the future who have the skills and competencies required to support the physical and mental health & wellbeing of all Suffolk residents."

Karen Chapman, Partnership Manager at Suffolk Growth said:

"Suffolk Growth is delighted to support Suffolk's Sport & Physical Activity Sector Skills Strategy. It clearly demonstrates how growth in the sector will address the skills gaps and shortages that both the sector and Suffolk as a whole need, particularly job and work ready transferable skills. Through this skills growth, the Sport and Physical Activity sector will significantly contribute to our priorities on apprenticeships, leadership, traineeships and reducing unemployment and improving school performance.

This is ground breaking work for Suffolk and demonstrates how valuable sport and physical activity, as an enabling sector is in meeting our economic priorities. There is strong evidence in the power of sport and physical activity as a vehicle to bring people closer to the job market and communities closer together. It is also successful in providing opportunities to demonstrate leadership and high performing teams. We look forward to working with the local skills board to ensure that sport and physical activity plays a key role in delivering our economic prosperity ambitions."

Tags: Abbeycroft Leisure, Active Partnerships, Partnership, Save Leisure, Sector Skills Strategy, Sport and Leisure