Coaching in the UK

sports coach UK International Briefing December 2014

Mon, 15 Dec 2014

Throughout 2014, sports coach UK and many UK governing bodies have been active on the international stage on coaching matters. This is a summary of some of the key initiatives that sports coach UK has been involved in and a few case studies from the governing bodies.

Update on EU Initiatives

sports coach UK has been a member of the EU Expert Group for Sport and Education since it was established a few years ago. Specifically it has been involved in the two sub-groups: Qualifications and Gender Equality in Sport.

Among a number of successful projects, the Qualifications group aligned the sports coaching qualifications of the EU member states to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Like many EU initiatives this is aimed at increasing the workforce mobility across EU member states by enabling coaches to have their qualifications aligned to the appropriate EQF level by governing bodies of sport.

One of the notable successes for the Gender Equality in Sport group was to have the EU Council adopt it’s conclusions on gender equality in sport - on 20 May 2014 - and have a formal Resolution on the European Union Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017).

This summer saw the EU Expert Group for Sport and Education come to the end of the 3-year cycle, with a new Expert Group being formed this winter. The next sports coach UK update in 2015 should see us providing further information on what the group objectives will be for the next three years.

EU Expert Groups

To view the sport page on the European Commission website click here

There are several groups that are set up by the EU that have the remit of influencing policy and encouraging collaboration across Member States. Previously sports coach UK has been involved in the EU Expert Group on Sport and Education  - governed  by the Directorate General for Education and Culture - which has included the two sub-groups Qualifications and Gender Equality in Sport: Proposal for Strategic Actions (2014-2020).

sports coach UK was asked to lead on the ‘Gender Equality in Coaching’ chapter and worked with several world renowned academics in this field to complete the proposal paper. The final document was presented to the EU Commission for Sport, Androulla Vassiliou, in February, 2014.

New expert groups are being established for 2015 and sports coach UK will provide updates on this in the new year.

IWG World Conference on Women and Sport

The sixth IWG World Conference on Women and Sport was held in

Helsinki this summer and Sarah Milner, sports coach UK Diversity and Inclusion Lead, was in attendance. Nearly 900 sports administrators, researchers, government ministers and other sports leaders from 100 countries attended the event, that this year had the theme Lead the Change - Be the Change.

In addition to being in attendance, Sarah was a panel member for the Q&A session following the presentation of the above mentioned Gender Equality in Sport proposal paper.

To view a video on the conference click here

She also delivered a presentation to the conference delegates within the ICCE series of coaching sessions, focussing on developing high performing female coaches.

The conference had five sub-themes: increasing girls’ participation in sport; leading the change in sport policy; enhancing female leadership and coaching; women’s physical activity and wellbeing; and promoting sport as a safe haven and bastion of human rights.

One of the main aims of the Conference was to review and update the Brighton Declaration on Woman and Sport that was produced at the inaugural IWG Conference in 1994.Despite its stature internationally – a total of 419 organisations have signed the declaration – it was felt that significant changes in international policy during the last 20 years demanded a review of the document. The new document is the Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration and is designed to take into account and benefit from all national and international charters

laws and regulations introduced since 1994.The new declaration is intended as a source of inspiration for policy and decision-makers who are working to advance the cause of girls and women in sport.

The event was a success not only in terms of the number, but also the quality of high profile delegates it attracted. For the first time ever, the presidents of both the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee – Thomas Bach and Sir Philip Craven – were in attendance. More of the conference presentations can be seen on the IWG youtube channel (, or by visiting the IWG website

The IWG World Conference is held every four years with the next one taking place in Botswana in 2018.

Update from The European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) 

The European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) is a European Association and has the position of being the European Sector Skills Council for Sport and Employment.

EOSE is a European wide technical and research Network of national organisations committed to supporting the development of the sector workforce and supporting the dialogue between employment and education to ensure people have the right skills to support the growth and development of the sector.

Throughout the summer EOSE has led a feasibility study for setting up a European Sector Skills Council for the sport and active leisure sector. This has involved a period of consultation with organisations across the EU member states to evaluate the demand for a ESSC. You may have completed the online survey a few months back on behalf of your organisation as sports coach UK circulated the survey to the governing bodies.

An interim report has been produced based on the results of the online consultation and some of the key headlines are:

  • 478 responses collated, with replies from all 28 EU Member States and a large mix of stakeholders
  • There is a need and the willingness in the Sector to establish an ESSC (91% of support received from respondents for establishing an ESSC)
  • The main issues are the lack of applicants with required working experience / skills and a lack of applicants with the required qualifications.
  • 97% say that the skills of paid staff are important or essential for sport organisations;
  • 88% say that the skills of unpaid staff/volunteers are important or essential

From the questionnaire, the following priorities were identified for the ESSC by the respondents:

  • To improve the link between the employment and education (75%)
  • To support the recognition of qualifications between member states (74%)
  • To promote lifelong learning and continuing professional development (64%)
  • To promote the exchange of good practice and networking (59%)

The final consultation phase ended on 30 November 2014 to allow for the preparation of the Final Report which will be submitted to the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in January 2015.

At this stage in the consultation the conclusion is that any ESSC for the sector would be a focal point for the collection of labour market and skills research compiled at a national level. This has the aim to support a dialogue between employers and education providers at the national and European level. It would give the opportunity to share good practice and to explore issues of common interest, such as the integration of sport qualifications with the European Qualifications Framework, the recognition of qualifications between countries, and creating opportunities for mobility allowing people to gain training and experience in other countries.

The final outcome and implications for governing bodies from this Report will feature in a future sports coach UK International Briefing.

The Erasmus+ Programme

The European Union consolidated seven of its funding pots into a single integrated programme called Erasmus+.  This should make it clearer on how to access European Funds to support a range of programmes.

As a result Erasmus+ offers a range of opportunities for UK organisations to access funding for education, training, youth and sport activities.

There will be total of €14.7bn available over the period of 2014-2020, but as with most funding pots there will be a need to align to some specific outcomes.

These outcomes are:

  • Learning Mobility
  • Cooperation for innovation and good practice
  • Policy Support
  • Sport specific outcomes (tacking transnational threats; good governance; dual careers; and promoting social inclusion, equal opportunities and health-enhancing physical activity)
  • Jean Monnet (focused in on European Integration Studies at Higher Education levels).

Further information can be found at the UK Erasmus+ website, and there is a Erasmus+ flyer which can be used to identify the sorts of things than can be funded.

Governing Body International Developments Update

sports coach UK is aware that many governing bodies in the UK are involved in international developments in a range of ways. We can’t feature them all in this International Briefing but we have selected just a few examples of the good practice taking place.


The PGA is a member of the PGA World Alliance –a group made up of representatives from The PGA’s of GB&I, America, Canada and Australia – that has been set up as a ‘sharing’ platform to discuss common themes and issues including coaching and education.  Ideas, programmes and resources from the respective governing bodies of golf are regularly shared through this forum.


British Cycling is involved in a project with UK Sport called IDEALS (International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport) which aims to establish a high quality, progressive and co-ordinated programme of development and infrastructure of other cycling nations. British Cycling is currently sending cycling professionals to work with the Namibian or Mozambique Cycling Federations to support, develop and implement national strategy, coach development and coaching.

Further information can be found by clicking here


British Swimming has developed an alliance with Japan in the lead up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. A delegation of the High Performance Coaching Staff from British Swimming travelled out to Japan last February.  The delegation visited a number of swim programmes, Federation and Olympic Committee officials to discuss meaningful cooperation aimed at mutual benefit in sport, in performance and through cultural understanding. This is a partnership aimed at performance sport as well as performance in life.

Tim Jones, British Swimming Performance Pathway Manager, said:

We were looking at the (World Class Podium) potential programme at that stage but what was very clear was the number of quality swims, the immense depth in the sport in Japan. Their programme is time driven; it is a huge part of their education system and approach to teaching kids. They accelerate the development of their kids very quickly. Clearly they have far more kids going fast at a young age than we have or any others have outside of the United States. We are interested in learning from that system.

Further information can be found at the following links:

If your organisation is involved in any international coaching development and you would like them to feature in a future sports coach UK bulletin then please get in touch with your sports coach UK designated contact.

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