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Report highlights workforce challenges for employers in physical activity sector

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This report asks what more we can do to keep the brightest and best within our sector – helping to create a truly world-class workforce

A third of fitness professionals are considering or have considered leaving the physical activity sector, an industry report is set to reveal.

Lifetime Training and ukactive spoke to 300 current and former fitness professionals in the UK to learn about their experiences.

The findings will show that 45 per cent of those who left their job in the sector moved to work in another industry. The reasons most often cited included a lack of clear career progression; unmet expectations of the job role; workplace culture; and few training or development opportunities.

The report, set to be released in full at the Active Training Conference 2017 next week, focuses on workforce challenges for companies – exploring the limitations to staff retention and how physical activity companies can create supportive environments to attract and retain talent.

The conference takes place on 30 November 2017 at The Hilton in Reading, where findings from the report will be discussed in detail, including how to develop a plan that helps reduce staff turnover.

More than 200 leaders from the profession will learn about the pressing issues in the skills agenda, with panel discussions on how technology will impact the exercise professional, the secret to successfully investing in people and navigating fast-changing policy.

“This report asks what more we can do to keep the brightest and best within our sector – helping to create a truly world-class workforce,” said ukactive CEO Steven Ward.

Matt Robinson, operations director – active leisure at Lifetime Training, added: “The past three years have seen a real shift in focus with the onset of new products and technology. However, things are coming full circle and people have become paramount once again. The key to a successful business strategy is the people who interact with customers day in and day out.

“A realisation has set in with business owners that we need strong customer service and the right people equipped with the right skills to drive change and better business performance. Developing and keeping these people is critical, particularly with the increased investment in the skills agenda brought about by the apprenticeship levy and the sector’s backing of CIMSPA to progress a proper model of occupational development.”

The conference will include keynote speeches ex-footballer Dougie Freedman and former NBA star John Amaechi, as well as talks from Public Health England's national lead for adult health, Dr Justin Varney, and Sport England's head of workforce, Caroline Fraser.

The event concludes with the Active Training Awards, which will be hosted by former elite sprinters Darren Campbell and Katharine Merry.

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A third of fitness professionals are considering or have considered leaving the physical activity sector, an industry report is set to reveal.
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