From education to employment

National Skills Academy for Sports and Leisure SSC?

SkillsActive has formally registered its interest with the government this week with regards to securing a National Skills Academy (NSA) for the sector.

SkillsActive are only one of many Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) competing for the position. It has been recognised by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) as having the potential to lead a SkillsActive Academy for the active leisure and learning sector.

If SkillsActive succeed in acquiring an NSA, it will mean that the sector will have training provision linked directly to the needs of employers and will drive improvements in the quality of that provision. It will also ensure employers have access to a wider-range of quality assured training provision, enable employers to have access to more cost effective training, and provide knowledge and expertise on how to apply for government funding to train staff.

Skills Revolution

SkillsActive’s chief executive Stephen Studd said: “The sector is facing a skills revolution. Not only is there a greater emphasis on the training development of staff, but also in the way in which training is delivered is undergoing a massive change. National Skills Academies are the single most important vocational training reform today. The NSA will lead the changes and innovation required to give industry the skilled workforce it needs for the 21st century to drive forward organisational performance.”

SkillsActive is the SSC for Sport and Recreation, Health and Fitness, Playwork, The Outdoors and the Caravan industries. Following consultations with employers and training providers, and by gaining and highlighting sector support, SkillsActive has now submitted its expression of interest to the DfES and is currently awaiting its decision.


Although SkillsActive are only one of many competing for the same prize, they have just as good a chance as any of the other SSCs. Now that they have submitted their vote, all they have to do is wait. SkillsActive acquiring an NSA will mean an increase in cost-effective employee training, ensuring a higher quality and better-trained workforce.

If SkillsActive does not win the proposal, it won”t be the end of the world but it would have made a big difference to staff training initiatives. But that said, the decision has not yet been made, and there is no point in being prematurely pessimistic until the DfES announce the result in the near future.

Paul Keely

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