A team from Sport Structures and its business partner Goodform produced four workforce development plans for the County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) in the North East. The project, commissioned by the CSPs, Sport England, SkillsActive and scUK involved conducting a skills audit of employers in the region and then using this evidence to produce two-year plans for each Partnership – until March 2009. The plans detailed the skills needs and training requirements of paid staff and volunteers within the CSPs and outlined the options available to train and develop the workforce. The priority areas for development within each Partnership included technical skills in coaching, fitness and operational staff in sports-related facilities. The four CSPs were able to use the plans to apply for funding from Sport England North East to support the development of the large number of volunteers within the Partnerships.
The project was structured into three stages -
Stage 1 of the project involved creating an online survey using a pre-designed survey developed by SkillsActive, Sport England and representatives of the CSPs. The survey focussed on the size of the workforce across the Partnerships and their skills needs and training requirements. The Sport Structures team worked very closely with Goodform to manage the online survey and monitor its distribution across the North East. To complement the employer’s survey, Sport Structures worked with each of the CSPs to conduct a training needs analysis (TNA) with their core team of staff. The results of the employer’s survey and the TNAs were then used in Stage 2 of the project.
Stage 2, the analysis, collated all the data from more than 400 employers and the CSPs’ core teams. The report identified the nature of the workforce in each of the Partnerships and the skills needs and training requirements from the respondents. The results identified a common need across all the Partnerships – an investment in the volunteer workforce, especially in coaching and officiating, and the need to support club administrators. Other key areas for investment across the Partnerships were to support the development of operational staff within sport-related facilities (mainly technical skills) and non-managerial staff.
The final stage of the project, Stage 3, involved working with each of the Partnerships to produce a two-year workforce development plan. Sport Structures assisted all the Partnerships in consulting with their partners and facilitated a number of events across the region to shape the final plans.
Each of the Partnerships in the North East was provided with a two-year workforce development plan that allowed them to identify priority areas for investment in skills needs and training requirements. The project was concluded in June with a regional employer’s event, held at St James Park, where Sport Structures presented the key findings of the project and Warwick Andrews was the event’s facilitator. The plans have been used to submit bids to Sport England, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and other regional partners to subsidise the training and development opportunities outlined in the plans.