SkillsActive welcomes the positive results shown in the recent government report on sport and regeneration. But the government licensed sector skills council for Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being also calls for more to be done to continue the Olympic legacy.
Ian Taylor, CEO of SkillsActive and Olympic gold medallist, said, “We’re delighted the report finds that London 2012 not only boosted the economy, but also has continued to inspire more people to participate in sports.”
A sports participation report from Sport England says that 15.3 million adults now play sport at least once a week; that’s 1.4 million more than in 2005/6, when the Olympic bid was won.
Ian went on to say, “At SkillsActive, what we have seen is London 2012 acting as a catalyst to bring forward concepts and opinions about sport, physical activity and fitness as a career choice. We are working with employers, practitioners and stakeholders to ensure that this industry is comprised of qualified and professional staff. That, for us, has been the biggest impact of London 2012.”
However, the Sport England report also found that more than 52.3% of adults still play no sport at all, and a recent large-scale UK survey showed 25% of boys and 33% of girls aged between two and 19 years are overweight or obese.
With a clear outlook that more still needs to be done, Ian continued, “We know children and young people were inspired by the examples of Team GB’s athletes at the 2012 Olympics. Better access to sport and physical activity is the start, but to engage this group of people, a quality experience is needed, and this can only be delivered by appropriately qualified coaches, providers and staff. Ensuring the workforce in this sector is sufficiently qualified and capable of performing to high expectations will fully engage and reconnect these people and ensure they commit to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
“Skilled professionals can recognise a child’s enthusiasm for sports and physical activities, and help them channel that passion into a legacy of self-belief and self-confidence for a lifetime. That’s why SkillsActive has created Capre, a new independent Register of Children’s Activity Professionals. This will ensure children and young people are instructed by qualified, professional staff.”
Ian concluded, “Inspiring not only future Olympic sporting champions, but an active, healthy population will take concerted, ongoing investment and people development in the sports and physical activity sector. Only by doing so can we ensure the Olympics legacy continues to be realised.”