Active Skills, a project to upskill the sport and physical activity workforce in Suffolk, has reached its half-way point.

The project, which is a partnership between Active Suffolk, Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund, Suffolk County Council and The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport & Physical Activity (CIMSPA), provides employers and instructors with the opportunity and financial support to access a range of qualifications and professional development. The purpose being to help the sport & physical activity sector to become more resilient and better equipped to meet the needs of local communities.

So far, the project has invested over £81,000 in upskilling the workforce with 54% of all skills qualifications completed. The focus in the last few months has been to increase the number of those qualified to support people with long-term health conditions.

Feedback from independent instructors and employees completing the training has been outstanding. 100% of exercise specialists attending courses stated that the training investment has improved the quality of their knowledge and delivery and confidence to prescribe and deliver physical activity to their clients. The training has also had a positive impact on attracting new participants to their classes.

An instructor completing a Level 2 Mental Health course said, “As well as feeling that I have more skills to be able to share with my students, I feel I have also personally benefited from gaining this new knowledge in support of my own mental well-being as a freelancer and small business owner.”

An instructor completing a Phase 4 Cancer Rehabilitation course said, “Having attended the Level 4 Cancer Rehabilitation course, has not only extended my knowledge of how to set up and deliver cancer related physical activity sessions, it has vastly improved my confidence as an exercise professional. It was definitely worth the investment and I’m very grateful to the Active Skills project for supporting me with funding this training; it’s not something I would have considered otherwise due to the high financial commitment as an independent instructor”

Since completing a Level 4 Cardiac Rehabilitation course in August, one of our independent instructors has set up a new cardiac rehabilitation course offering classes to those who have suffered cardiac problems or surgery. One of the patients commenting, “I was referred to Cardiac Rehabilitation after having a heart attack and a stent fitted. I had not been active for a long time before having my heart attack but coming to something specialised following the event really helped me to get active again. It is the best thing I can have done. It is not just the exercise either, it gets me out of the house and has allowed me to meet new people and make friends.”

Karen Chapman, Partnership Manager for Suffolk Growth said, “Suffolk Growth are delighted to continue to support Active Suffolk in this sector skills improvement programme. Raising the skills and qualification levels of the sport and physical activity sector in Suffolk is a really important part of sustaining healthier communities and a productive workforce across the county. We are already seeing tangible benefits for employers, staff and residents from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Fund investment and the focus on skills development supporting people manage long term health conditions in leisure centres and community settings is now more than ever an important part of supporting health and wellbeing in Suffolk.”

For further information about the Active Skills Project contact either Susannah Challis Susannah.challis@activesuffolk.org or Emily Parish emily.parish@eastsuffolk.gov.uk.

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