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Sport England launches Retrain to Retain initiative for sports professionals

May 21st 2021
Vicky Sartain

Sport England is investing £5 million of National Lottery money in a unique job retention and support package for sports and fitness professionals.

The investment is part of the one-year implementation plan that Sport England announced on 12 May, which sets out how they will deliver the first year of their long-term strategy, Uniting the Movement.

Around 30% of sports and fitness coaches are self-employed, with 71% of them having had to find alternative work to ensure income during the pandemic.

Who will benefit?

Retrain to Retain is designed to support up to 25,000 sports and fitness coaches who’ve have had to find work outside the sector during the pandemic and will prioritise those working in areas of economic deprivation or supporting under-represented groups.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, said it was vital to support the professional workforce who help other people to be physically active, but have had to step away from their roles due to the pandemic: “While it’s been fantastic to see people embrace the return and reopening of sport and physical activity, we must ensure that the sports and fitness professionals who make so much of that happen are supported in every way possible.

“It has been an extremely tough year for this part of our workforce, and I am delighted we’re able to confirm this investment and this programme as part of our ongoing Covid-19 recovery work.”

Investing in the future

The programme will invest in training, resources, and tools to help coaches and fitness professionals return to work, as well as support up to 5,000 self-employed people or micro-businesses.  It will also support more than 500 employers to reopen by reducing the cost of operation and addressing skills shortages by funding the costs of essential training.

Retrain to Retain will be administered by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and a consortium of partners including UK Coaching and EMD UK.

It will include funding professional accreditations and insurance, investing in specific training programmes and courses and offer access to a wide range of additional resources such as a ‘Workforce Support Line’ and a skills and employability network. It will also establish an online community of learning which will include blogs, podcasts, advice, and factsheets.

Tara Dillon, chief executive of CIMSPA, said Retrain to Retain will be a major boost to the sport and physical activity workforce, enabling many thousands of professionals to stay in, or return to, the sector. She said: “From sports coaches to personal trainers, swimming teachers and group exercise instructors, this highly skilled workforce has a vital role in keeping the nation physically and mentally healthy as we emerge from Covid-19,” she added. “I am delighted that we are able to provide this service with support from Sport England.”

Find out more about the Retain to Retrain package here

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