The apprenticeship revolution – a new era for the sport and physical activity sector?

The apprenticeship revolution – a new era for the sport and physical activity sector?

David Sampson, head of standards development team, BIS/DfE Apprenticeships Directorate


In light of the government’s commitment to delivering three million apprenticeships, apprenticeship standards are currently being developed across a wide range of industries.


Employees will gain much-needed skills on the job without incurring debt. For employers, apprenticeships allow them to mould employees with the skills they need, and for government they represent an economical way of up-skilling the workforce.


Trailblazer is the means by which sectors get together to develop new apprenticeship standards to set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours it needs for competent employees. The sport and physical activity trailblazer has had two standards approved (level 3 personal trainer and level 3 leisure duty manager), and has put in a bid to develop two more standards (fitness instructor and leisure recreation assistant).

Apprenticeship funding

The government is introducing a levy on employers in April 2017 to fund apprenticeships. This will be 0.5% of pay bills in excess of £3m (less than 2% of UK employers), collected through PAYE. Employers who pay the levy and are committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get out more than they pay in through a top up to their digital account. More information will be made available in a new technical document launching this April.

Helping employers

“Find an apprenticeship” is a free online recruitment tool.

  • The National Apprenticeship Service provides account management for large employers and an online and telephone helpline for small businesses.
  • A new Digital Apprenticeship Service will provide a new simple online portal for employers. Launching at the same time as the levy, this is effectively an electronic voucher system, allowing employers to draw down funding.
  • The apprenticeship grant for employers currently provides £1,500 for up to the first five (framework- based) apprentices in small businesses.