Morning sessions

Arrival and registration

09.00 - 09.30

Welcome and introduction

Delegates  received a warm welcome and brief outline of the day ahead.

Tara Dillon FCIMSPA Chartered, CIMSPA CEO

09.30 - 09.40


Conference opening

Marc Woods stepped up to the role of CIMSPA chair in November 2017. In his conference opening presentation, Marc shared his personal story as a Paralympic athlete, drawing parallels to challenges many organisations face. He focused on taking personal responsibility as well as teamwork, great communication and aligning goals. His view is simple – everyone has a role to play.

Marc Woods, CIMSPA chair


09.40 - 10.15





Understanding people

John Amaechi OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Amaechi Performance Systems

Psychologist, best-selling author and former NBA basketball player, John Amaechi  presented CIMSPA’s morning keynote with his trademark blend of insight, personal connection, wit and warmth.

His keynote’s theme was “understanding people” – tailoring recruitment and retention policies and cultures to hire the best staff, and then keep them. John’s firm belief is that an engaged and diverse staff team offers a deeper understanding of the communities we serve, drives innovative solutions to workplace challenges and creates a strong pool of ideas and inspiration.

If you missed this great opportunity to see a world-class speaker connect and inspire read more about it in our conference report. 

10.15 - 11.15

Comfort break








11.15 - 11.30

Morning breakouts

11.30 - 12.30

Public facilities and the modern security landscape

Public spaces have been targeted in recent years by those using violent direct action for political ends, so public confidence that site operators are doing all they can to minimise risk is hugely important. This breakout provided a pragmatic discussion on appropriate protective security measures and advice on contingency plans for public sport and leisure facilities, based on guidance produced by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

AIMED AT: In light of the terror threat in the UK this was a must for anyone who undertakes or manages facility risk assessments, plus senior managers who want to ensure customer security without scaremongering.

Andy Read MCIMSPA, Places for People
Martin Girvan FCIMSPA, Sports Ground Safety Authority

Apprenticeships: real-world implementation into a sporting workplace

How to employ, train and pay an apprentice – from lifeguard to senior manager.

The new generation of apprenticeships have flexibility built-in to ensure they can be shaped to individual employer needs. This session covered the practicalities of embedding this career entry point into sport and activity workplaces and outlined how the new coaching and sports development apprenticeship standards provide a great introduction to the world of work.

It also explained the on-boarding process for a real-world apprenticeship – how to find potential apprentices, design a training programme that meets the needs of both the apprentice and your business, and how costs can be minimised or even offset.

AIMED AT: Education and training specialists, plus front line leaders who will be responsible for line managing and enthusing apprenticeships. 

Matt Robinson, Lifetime Training

CIMSPA Quality Assurance rollout

This workshop provided an opportunity to engage with the External Quality Assurance (EQA) process where delegates worked with us to influence & refine the Policy & associated procedures (standardisation).

AIMED AT: Education and training specialists who want to stay current with the radical changes CIMSPA is facilitating in the sector’s education landscape, plus frontline professionals keen to understand how success here will improve the capabilities of their new recruits.

Colin Huffen, CIMSPA
Jane Mellors, CIMSPA

Lunch break

12.30 - 13.15

Afternoon breakouts 

13.15 - 14.00

London Sport - Building a workforce for the future

London Sport has recently launched their new workforce strategy that will develop:

  • A Broader workforce enabling all Londoners to lead active lives
  • A workforce that better meets the physical activity needs of all Londoners

This session outlined the work undertaken London Sport on getting underneath Londoners needs from a Sport & PA workforce, the key finding from this work, including the need to engage with a different type of workforce to engage the inactive, and how this has led to an exciting and innovative workforce strategy.


Dean Nevill, London Sport
Andy Davies, London Sport


Safeguarding and duty of care – the new realities

Questions around duty of care and the safeguarding of vulnerable audiences have risen to the top of the political agenda this year.

With so much "nasty news" around, this issue isn't going away, so this breakout saw CIMSPA set out its plan to ensure the best child and user welfare standards are maintained across sport, leisure and physical activity services.

We made the realities of the new duty of care landscape clear and looked at practical ways to deliver compliance, such as risk-based assessments.

AIMED AT: Those keen to get their organisation ahead of the curve on what will be one of the definitive sector management challenges of the coming year – a challenge we must meet under the scrutiny of our customers.

Colin Huffen, CIMSPA
David Turner, UK Coaching
Jude Toasland, NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit

Ensuring employable graduates – how our sector can help

One of CIMSPA’s key focuses in 2018 is ensuring that graduates from sport and activity-related higher and further education programmes have “employability” embedded in them. We’ll be playing our part in the rollout of the new FE technical “T level” programmes, and our sector is participating in Department for Education consultations on key decision points such as mandatory 3-month work placements. This panel discussion included members from higher and further education, and sector employers, and debated how they can work jointly to ensure that work placements and graduate training schemes can deliver employability.

AIMED AT: Those developing and implementing education products for sport and physical activity professionals – Employability is everything in the current climate – a must-attend for education specialists and employers.


Jeff Lynch, GLL
Jon Glenn, Swim England
Russ Smith, Street Games

Steven Osborne, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Comfort break

14.00 - 14.15

Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools – new edition, new realities, new opportunities!

“It’s now 14 years since the Health & Safety Executive published the current edition of Managing Health & Safety in Swimming Pools – the landmark publication used by operators to guide them through the most complex facility management challenge in our sector – safe swimming pool operation.

On Day 2 of our conference, HSE announced the publication of the long awaited new edition, developed through considerable consultation with frontline operators and other industry professionals.

The facility management world has, of course, changed greatly in the last 14 years – customers demanding ever higher pool and changing area standards and an increasingly complex litigation landscape recently affected by big changes to sentencing guidelines.

The new edition of Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools, carried out as part of HSE’s wide reaching guidance review programme, brings HSG 179 into line with other HSE publications. It is written in a straightforward, accessible style which signposts readers to more detailed industry guidance, removing ambiguity and avoiding duplication, to ease implementation in real world leisure services.

Our speakers highlighted the main thrust of the new edition’s changes and additions and explained where other essential sources of information can be found.

Cameron Adam, Principal Inspector, HSE
Frances Kelly, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, HSE

14.15 - 15.00

Delivering success together

In our closing keynote, last minute replacement Phil Smith highlighted the importance of a professional, engaged workforce as a foundation to delivering Sport England’s Towards an Active Nation strategy goals.

Sport England’s investment in, and support for, CIMSPA is a reflection of the institute's strong partnerships with employers and education professionals who are already driving positive change in our sector through the CIMSPA Professional Standards Matrix.

Phil's keynote provided an insight into Sport England’s thinking at an important time, as it consults on its new Workforce Strategy and delivery is starting on many of its new programs, including those addressing inactivity and working in partnership with local structures in 12 locations across England.

Phil Smith, Chief Executive, Sport England














15.00 - 15.30








15.30 - 15.40


For the day 1 (Quest NBS) programme click HERE

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