The development of the new sport and physical activity education landscape

The development of the new sport and physical activity education landscape

Spencer Moore, FCIMSPA, development director, CIMSPA Rebecca Ward, education and standards manager, CIMSPA

CIMSPA’s ultimate aim is to create employer-led standards for every job role, with clear pathways between jobs, to help retain people in the sector
— Spencer Moore


CIMSPA’s professional workforce strategy has been drafted in response to key demands from the sector and following wide consultation. It focuses on five areas: skills matrices, employer standards, sector-wide partnerships, chartered recognition and transparent governance.

Skills matrices

CIMSPA has developed five skills matrices (community sport, performance sport and administration, leisure operations, fitness and exercise and physical activity) and identified the motivations and requirements for each of the roles (approximately 80) that sit within these.

Employer–led standards

There are approximately 80 core jobs within these five skills matrices, each of which requires a new set of standards to be written. CIMSPA’s ultimate aim is to create a set of employer- led standards for every role, with clear pathways between roles, to help retain people in the sector. These employer- led standards will be used to develop qualifications, apprenticeships and degrees. They will have a clear role descriptor and be simple and straightforward – ideally just “two-sides of A4” explaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are expected of each role. Critical to this are the standards for assessment and delivery.

Sector-wide partnerships

Delivery partners are crucial and as such CIMSPA is currently developing partnerships with awarding bodies, FE colleges, private training providers and universities to ensure that the standards are being used to improve the quality and consistency of education delivery and assessment.

Chartered recognition

We have a route to chartered recognition. The sector wanted recognition for the skills of frontline staff which will help them when working with the health sector, so we are developing chartered pathways for practitioners ie. from fitness instructor to clinical practitioner. We are aiming to do this in other areas too.

Transparent governance

We have developed a governance structure that will be led by employers, and that links to wider government policy and provides two way communication between employers and education partners. It will also have as wide a representation as possible. A professional development board formed of exercise and fitness PDC (professional development committee), leisure operations PDC, performance sport PDC, community sport PDC and physical activity PDC, will sit at the heart of the structure and drive it. CIMSPA will act as the secretariat.

Call to action

Employers are key to all of this work. They need to help develop the standards, commit to them and become CIMSPA partners.