From education to employment

SkillsActive secures £500,000 to plug Playwork and Fitness skills gaps

SkillsActive, the SSC for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, has secured more than £500,000 from the government’s Growth and Innovation Fund to address skills gaps in the Playwork and Fitness sectors.

The SSC made a successful bid to the Joint Investment Programme(JIP), one of the three available strands of the fund, according to which the Government will invest jointly with employers in delivering skills in sectors with real business productivity and growth ambitions.

The first part of the funding boost, a total of £278,000, matched by employers, will be designated to the fitness sector.

It is estimated that more than 1,300 fitness professionals will be able to undertake training to become specialist instructors and to better respond to clients’ needs to deliver, for example, tailored interventions for inactive people, especially older adults and those with disabilities.

A further £230,000 will help 1,000 Playworkers gain their Level 3 Award in Transition to Playwork.

Stephen Studd, chief executive of SkillsActive, said: “This funding will help us address employer concerns around a lack of knowledge of the Playwork principles and remove the cost barrier to becoming qualified in this area – an issue that is particularly pertinent for Playwork employers at present.”

While at least one staff member in each Playwork setting must have a relevant Level 3 qualification for Ofsted regulation, many have early years qualifications that do not provide the right level of Playwork knowledge.

By obtaining the Level 3 Award in Transition to Playwork, those who already have a Level 3 early years qualification will also gain an in-depth understanding of the Playwork approach.

SkillsActive is currently working with the Skills Funding Agency to procure a lead provider and to discuss the potential for growing the current programme.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of those employers from our sector who committed to working with us and grabbing this unique opportunity to invest in their workforce,” continued Studd.

“We look forward to working with them and the lead provider for the Joint Investment Programme, once appointed, to deliver this training and continue our mission to professionalise the workforce.”

Apostolos Kostoulas

(Pictured: SkillsActive CEO Stephen Studd)

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