Coaching in the UK

Funding for coaching qualifications may be threatened

Thu, 13 Mar 2014

Recent recommendations from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) may have a dramatic effect on funding for coaching qualifications in several sports. The recommendations, which are part of a plan to reform vocational qualifications, come at a time when around six million people a week receive coaching and the Department for Culture Media and Sport is encouraging more people to take part in sport and physical activity.

Within the plan, funding would be cut from more than 50% of all the qualifications currently recognised, based largely on the number of learners in each subject, their perceived labour-market value and employer recognition.

Responding to the recent speech by Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP, sports coach UK CEO Dr Tony Byrne has said: “After many years of working with sports, awarding bodies and the relevant Government departments to gain recognition for coaching qualifications, we’re concerned about the effect this reform may have on a number of sports. Although it’s unlikely to impact on the very largest sports, it could mean that other coaching qualifications which meet exactly the same quality standards will no longer be eligible for funding.

“It’s now more than 10 years since a Government report recommended improvements to the way in which coaching qualifications were managed. Since then, sports coach UK has worked strenuously with more than 30 sports to develop the training programmes, resources, assessment and quality assurance needed to meet the strict standards of the UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) endorsement. The result is that we now have 150 different qualifications across 32 sports, all of which provide reassurance to the participant that their coach will provide safe, competent, enjoyable development in their chosen discipline.

“More than 300,000 people earn a living from coaching in the UK, either part-time or full-time. Sports coaching qualifications provide a valuable route into employment for many young people, whilst the communication and inter-personal skills required can be applied in most other walks of life. In the longer term, sports coaches have a pivotal role to play in the nation’s health and fitness.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be making representations to the Government to emphasise the significance of sports coaching, both in terms of employment and health. We’ll also encourage BIS to recognise the niche nature of such qualifications. Meanwhile, we urge Governing Bodies of Sport, coaching employers and other partners to gather more evidence on the demand for coaching in their part of the sector.”

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