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Retrain to Retain job retention scheme to help 25,000 fitness and sports professionals after tough year

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A new job retention scheme, backed by National Lottery funding, has been launched to support fitness and sports professionals in England.

Retrain to Retain is designed to support up to 25,000 fitness and sports coaches who’ve have had to find work outside the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and will prioritise those working in areas of economic deprivation or supporting under-represented groups.

Sport England is investing £5m in the programme, which will provide training, resources, and tools to help coaches and fitness professionals return to work.

It will also offer support up to 5,000 self-employed people or micro-businesses and more than 500 employers to reopen their businesses, by reducing the cost of operation and addressing skills shortages by funding the costs of essential training.

Retrain to Retain will be administered by CIMSPA and a consortium of partners, including UK Coaching and EMD UK.

It will include funding professional accreditations and insurance, investing in specific training programmes and courses and offer access to a wide range of additional resources such as a ‘Workforce Support Line’ and a skills and employability network.

It will also establish an online community of learning which will include blogs, podcasts, advice, and factsheets.

Tara Dillon, chief executive of CIMSPA, said Retrain to Retain will be a major boost to the sport and physical activity workforce, enabling many thousands of professionals to stay in, or return to, the sector.

“From sports coaches to personal trainers, swimming teachers and group exercise instructors, this highly skilled workforce has a vital role in keeping the nation physically and mentally healthy as we emerge from COVID-19,” Dillon said.

Around 30 per cent of sports and fitness coaches are self-employed, with 71 per cent of them having had to find alternative work to ensure income during the pandemic.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England CEO, said Retrain to Retain would support a professional workforce who have helped other people to be physically active, but have had to step away from their roles due to the pandemic.

“While it’s been fantastic to see people embrace the return and reopening of sport and physical activity, we must ensure that the sports and fitness professionals who make so much of that happen are supported in every way possible,” Hollingsworth said.

“It has been an extremely tough year for this part of our workforce, and I am delighted we’re able to confirm this investment and this programme as part of our ongoing COVID-19 recovery work.”

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A new job retention scheme, backed by National Lottery funding, has been launched to support fitness and sports professionals in England.

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