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Sub-sectors


Sport and recreation

Sport and recreation means all forms of physical activity, which aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being.

The sport and recreation industry gross value added (GVA) was an estimated £5.2 billion in 2004, which accounts for 0.56% of the UK’s output.

There is considerable interest in the sports sector ranging from the impact of sport on the economy generally, to the regional economic impact of hosting large international sports events. Sport is seen as a means to: engage the socially excluded; prevent young offenders from re-offending: and combat obesity.

Employment in the industry is estimated at 371,800 in the UK (2008), accounting for 60.5% of the active leisure, learning and well-being sector employment. Industry employment is concentrated in the South East with over 60,000 employees (17%), but there are also significant numbers in the North West and Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland have the smallest numbers accounting for 25,500 workers in total. Over the next 10 years, employment levels in England are expected to increase by 100,000 (21%).

Similar to the active leisure, learning and well-being sector average, 89% of the industry workforce are employees and 11% self-employed. However, 47% of workers are employed part-time, compared to 22% across all sectors in the UK.

Professional, associate professional and technical, personal service and elementary occupations are more important to sport and recreation than the economy as a whole. Associate professional and technical occupations is the largest occupational group within the industry, representing 20% of the total workforce. Compared with the UK workforce, managers and proprietors in hospitality and leisure services, agricultural trades (including grounds staff), leisure and travel service occupations together with elementary personal services occupations are also over represented.

The sport and recreation workforce in the UK is predominantly female (57%). The industry has a much younger age profile (aged 16-24 years) than in the economy as a whole, but will be concentrated at 18 years and over because of regulatory requirements for some roles. Ethnic minorities are under-represented in the industry: 95% of employees are white compared to 93% in the whole economy.

26% of the workforce has a Level 4 or 5 qualification, which is lower than the whole economy (29%). 31% of the workforce hold no or Level 1 qualifications, and 27% have a Level 2 qualification.

Key drivers in the industry:

  • customer trends and increasing health awareness
  • increase in older customers with more leisure time, requiring low impact activities
  • globalisation and technology, limited to management of bookings
  • government policy increasing participation in sport
  • innovation in provision

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: UK 2010, Skills Needs Assessment – England 2005 and Skills Needs Assessment – Sport and Recreation 2005

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Health and fitness

The health and fitness industry is focused on the supervision of exercise and physical activity – either in an individual capacity or within a group – in a controlled environment. This can be variously described to include the provision of facilities to encourage and promote physical activity and the general concept of promoting ‘wellness’. There are a significant number of public leisure centres which also provide a fitness facility often within multi-sport facilities, plus there are facilities within educational establishments.

The health and fitness industry gross value added (GVA) was £650 million in 2004, which was 0.07% of the whole UK output and 7.5% of the SkillsActive output. Output in the industry is expected to slow with an annual growth rate of 4.3% over the next ten years, but this will significantly higher than both the active leisure, learning and well-being sector as a whole and the whole UK economy.

UK employment in the industry accounts for 8.4% of the active leisure, learning and well-being sector, with a total of almost 51,500 people in around 3,200 workplaces. Industry employment is concentrated in the South East (17%), but the industry is growing fastest in Scotland. Over the next 10 years, employment levels are expected to increase and forecast replacement demands will be 7,000 annually between 2005-2009.

Similar to the active leisure, learning and well-being sector average, 42% of the industry workforce is employed full-time, 45% part-time and 13% self-employed.

The industry has a high turnover rate, partly attributed to, entrants having high expectations about the work which are not met. New entrants and staff often lack experience so start in lower level roles and face low pay, shift-work and limited career pathways.

Associate professional and technical, personal service and elementary occupations are more important to health and fitness than the economy as a whole. 21% of the health and fitness workforce are employed in personal service, which is significantly larger than for the whole economy. Elementary personal service occupations are more than double that found in the UK workforce.

The workforce is predominantly female (51% female). The majority of occupations are biased to women, particularly exercise to music instructors who are 88% female. The dominance of women in the industry is likely to increase in the future. The industry has a much younger age profile than in the economy as a whole. Ethnic minorities are under-represented in the industry: 95.4% of employees are white compared to 93% in the whole economy.

31% of the workforce hold no or Level 1 qualifications, but 70% believe that technical and practical skills are important to their job. 23% of the workforce has Level 4 or 5 qualifications, which is lower than the whole economy (29%).

22% of employers in the health and fitness industry have reported vacancies, of which 9% are hard-to-fill. Vacancies are the result of low number of applicants with the required skills. 41% of employers have one skills shortage vacancy. Skills deficiencies are reported for team working, communication, technical and practical and customer handling skills.

Key drivers in the industry:

  • customer attitudes and expectations
  • increase in customers with more leisure time who are better informed and expect value for money
  • government policy increasing participation in sport and preventative healthcare
  • the introduction of customer relationship management (CRM)
  • increase in the number of public-private investment or partnerships
  • the success of the Register of Exercise Professionals driving quality training and standards of conduct

Communication skills are the most important skill for the industry, whilst little importance is given to foreign language skills. Team working, health and safety knowledge and customer service skills are also of importance. Employers have reported that those working in the industry must be self-motivated and reliable.

Key priorities in the industry are to: increase attractiveness of the industry; develop career pathways; encourage professionalism and up-skilling; sustainable funding for training; and increase the diversity of the workforce.

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: UK 2010, Skills Needs Assessment – England 2005 and Skills Needs Assessment – Health and Fitness 2005

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Playwork

Playwork is the profession that facilitates children’s play outside the educational curriculum in their childhood and young adulthood years (ages 4-16 years). Playwork takes place where adults support children’s play in settings that include:

  • after school clubs
  • holiday playschemes
  • adventure playgrounds
  • parks
  • play buses
  • breakfast clubs

Some professions within playwork may not be fixed to one site, for example play rangers, and children’s services managers in local authorities will not work face-to-face with children.

The playwork industry gross value added (GVA) was £1.8 billion in 2004, which was 0.16% of the whole UK output. The industry makes a significant social contribution towards improving the lives of children, building communities, improving health and education, plus reduces crime.

UK employment in the industry accounts for 23.8% of the active leisure, learning and well-being sector, with a total of 146,700 people employed.

Playwork provision falls into the voluntary, statutory and private sectors. Playworkers are mainly employed by voluntary or charitable organisations and it is estimated that volunteers account for 13% of the workforce. Many playworkers undertake paid as well as voluntary jobs. The workforce is predominately part-time or seasonal. Holiday play settings are the main source of seasonal employment, but turnover is high as a result.

People can start work in the playwork sector without a qualification, but there are regulations in place that govern minimum qualification requirements of staff in some Playwork settings. For example, in England, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) have published Daycare Standards which say that at least half the staff working in a play setting with children aged under eight years must have a relevant Level 2 qualification and that the person in charge must have an appropriate Level 3 qualification.

Typical estimated ranges of pay (2003/2004) are:

  • £5.00-£7.00 per hour for someone starting with no experience
  • £6.00-£12.00 per hour for someone with some experience and training (e.g. Level 2/3 qualifications)
  • £8.00-£15.00 per hour for someone with experience and higher qualifications (Level 4/higher education) who is managing one setting
  • £13.00-£19.00 per hour from someone with experience (Level 4/higher education) managing more than one setting

42.6% of respondents to the Playwork workforce survey 2007 stated that low pay compared to other industries is a factor that would make them leave the sector.

People working in other capacities, such as development workers are usually paid according to local authority pay scales.

The workforce is predominantly female (87%) and there are less young workers in the sector than in the economy as a whole. This varies significantly by setting as holiday playschemes have a higher proportion of male workers (18% male and 82% female) and a much younger age profile than the industry as whole.

The playwork workforce is predominantly white (91.4%). However, there are regional differences in the ethnic background of playworkers:

  • in London, 11.5% are Asian or Asian British, 22.1% Black or Black British, 1.8% Chinese and 7.1% mixed race
  • outside of London, the West Midlands has the largest proportion of Asian playworkers (4.0%) and the South West has the largest proportion of Black workers (4.7%)

Playworkers generally have a high level of educational attainment, but their qualifications are not necessarily related to playwork. 50% of playworkers hold entry level training or a Level 2 qualification as their highest qualification in playwork.

Just over one third of employers have a hard-to-fill vacancy because of lack of interest in this type of job, a low number of applicants or unsociable hours. 29% of employers identified a skills gap in their workforce, including: team working; communications; and planning and preparing work.

Key drivers in the industry:

  • increased demand for quality services and staff by parents and carers
  • the need for more childcare provision to meet the needs of parents returning to work
  • emphasis on early learning
  • possibilities of marketing play provision online as access to and fluency in IT improves
  • government policy and regulatory frameworks driving developments
  • long-term sustainability as funding is problematic

Future skill needs:

  • playwork specific skills and qualifications
  • an understanding of the values and principles of playwork.
  • business and management skills: specifically leadership, partnership working, marketing and fundraising
  • more staff trained to Level 2 and 3
  • higher level qualifications e.g. foundation degrees for senior practitioners

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: UK 2010, Skills Needs Assessment – Playwork 2005 and Playwork workforce 2007

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The outdoors

The outdoors industry is diverse encompassing the ‘traditional’ areas of outdoor education, outdoor recreation and development training, and the more recently defined sub-sectors: explorations and expeditions and outdoor sport development.

The Outdoors sector had an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) output of £430 million in 2004 and employed an estimated 26,400 people. This accounts for 5.1% of the total UK GVA for SkillsActive and 4.3% of SkillsActive employment in the UK.

Outdoors workforce characteristics:

  • 44% of the outdoors workforce in England is female.
  • The workforce has a higher proportion of young people (aged 16-24) than the workforce across England as a whole. However, young people are concentrated in the 18-plus age group, as market requirements for working with corporate clients, Ofsted regulations for working with children, and minibus driving licence requirements all discourage the employment of those aged under 18.
  • The workforce is predominantly drawn from white ethnic groups with only 4% from non-white ethnic groups.
  • 84% of the workforce are employees, with 16% self-employed either as freelance practitioners or working in partnerships.
  • The sector has a significantly high proportion of part-time workers – 41% compared to 22% across the UK.
  • Managers and Senior Officials, Personal Service occupations, and Elementary occupations are more important in the outdoors industry than they are in the UK workforce as a whole.
  • Volunteers make a substantial contribution to the outdoors industry across the UK and much of the sector would find it difficult to operate without the help of these unpaid staff.

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: UK 2010, Assessment of Current Provision – England 2006, Skills Needs Assessment – England 2005, and Skill Needs Assessment Outdoors 2006

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Caravan industry

The caravan industry encompasses caravan manufacturing and services, caravan sales, and caravan parks. The caravan industry is almost entirely commercial, with virtually no public or voluntary provision. There is a predominance of small traders in the industry. 41% of caravan parks are run as partnerships, 39% as private limited companies, 15% are sole traders and 3% are membership organisations.

There are a total of 4,089 parks in the UK, which is expected to increase as demand for park homes increases in the future. There are an estimated 41,700 people employed in the industry. As work in the industry is seasonal, employment numbers can increase by an estimated 7% in the summer.

It is estimated that 16% are self-employed as many independent parks are family owned and run. There has been little growth in the numbers employed in the industry and numbers are forecast to decline over the next ten years.

66% of the workforce are male. There is a concentration of people working in the industry in the middle age groups and a significant decline at retirement age.

The caravan industry gross value added (GVA) was £1 billion in 2004, which was 0.11% of the whole UK output and 11.8% of SkillsActive’s output.

The industry is concentrated in the South West, East of England, South East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and Wales. The South West of England accounts for 16% of total employment in the industry.

The largest occupational group, representing 33% of the workforce, is managers and senior officials. Over-representation of this occupational group, compared to the whole economy, is, however, typical of the active leisure, learning and well-being sector . Administration and secretarial occupations are underrepresented in the industry, but is similar to the figures for the whole economy.

40% of employers have vacancies and 57% of employers with vacancies reported that they are hard-to-fill. Recruiting enough cleaners and housekeepers is a major challenge for the industry. Hard-to-fill vacancies also exist for bar managers and staff, receptionists, wardens or assistant wardens, cooks and chefs.

Recruitment difficulties are the result of a lack of applicants, few interested in the work and not enough applicants with the required attitude, motivation or personality. Skills shortages are reported by 39% of employers for customer service skills, maintaining safety and communication skills.

Future skills required in the industry include general IT and management skills. Technical and practical, plus IT professional skills will be required to higher levels in the future. 54% of employers believe that the levels of skills required were increasing and being driven by new legislation and regulations, customer expectations and IT.

Key drivers in the industry:

  • consumer demands including customer expectations, the weather, media image of caravanning and the economy
  • IT developments and fluency enabling people to book online
  • government and local authorities driving licensing, planning and tourism
  • sales of UK caravans which have steadily increased over the last few years

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: UK 2010, Skills Needs Assessment – England 2005 and Skills Needs Assessment – Caravan Industry 2005

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