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  • Norman Brook

Sport Workforce Development

Sport is delivered through a workforce that is comprised of both salaried staff and volunteers. The workforce comprises administrators, technical officials, coaches and other roles specific to the sport. Sport needs a competent workforce to deliver a quality sports experience to their participants that requires access to learning and development opportunities in order to build their competences.

International and national sports federations are increasingly seeking to develop sport by investing in the learning and development of their workforce. Individuals working in sport learn through a mixture of activities including practicing in the field, completing formal sports education qualifications, self-directed study, by attending conferences, workshops and seminars, and through mentoring or being a member of a community of practice.  Traditionally sports federations would deliver face to face training leading to a formal sports education qualification or certificate. Advances now see sports federations supporting the learning and development of their workforce by supporting the different ways in which people learn.  An example of this would be the introduction of blended or hybrid learning where online digital media is combined with traditional classroom methods.

Sport Workforce Learning & Development Opportunities

Figure 1: Sport Workforce Learning & Development Opportunities

Sports organizations are increasingly looking at a learning and development strategy for their workforce that asks what are the competences we need to develop in our staff and volunteers to enable them to perform their roles to the best of their ability. Strategies that include formal sports education programs with clear outcomes that focus on developing the applied competency or capability of the workforce. Programs that are outcome driven and can be evaluated.

In addition to designing education programs which feature traditional face to face training courses, many sports federations are using online platforms to blend pre-course and post-course study with the instructed course.  They are also supporting ongoing learning and development outside of formal sports education courses and qualifications by delivering continuing professional development opportunities in the form of conferences, workshops and seminars and are delivering formal mentoring programs.  This ongoing education and learning activity following on from traditional sports education courses and qualifications helping the sports workforce move from competence to capability i.e. not just being competent to undertake a task, but having the ability to adapt tasks in new situations.

Applied Competency

Figure 2: Supporting Learners to Shift from Competence to Capability

In order to deliver a comprehensive sports education program, many sports organisations are developing a team of people who support the education and development of the workforce. These sports educators work to:

  1. Develop organizational strategies to support the learning and development of the sport’s workforce;

  2. Design education programs and develop resources to support learning;

  3. Facilitate the learning and development of the workforce in face to face settings;

  4. Conduct assessment of learners seeking to gain a qualification/certificate;

  5. Mentor learners in the field;

  6. Evaluate and verify the delivery of sports education programs.

Sports educators can be program developers, facilitators, mentors, assessors or verifiers.

Brook Sports Consulting has years of experience in developing individuals working in sport and supporting sports organizations to develop and deliver education programs.  We are currently working on sports education projects for a number of International Sports Federations. We also have experience of developing the workforce within organizations that specialize in using sport for development outcomes.  Developing sport for development programs, resources and people.


Photo 1: Developing a Sport for Development Education Program for use in TVET Colleges in Ethiopia.


Photo 2: Participants at the ITU/ASTC Facilitators Workshop held in Kuala Lumpur 2012

Brook Sports Consulting offer support in developing sport education strategies and programs, in developing learning resources, in training facilitators, mentors, assessors and verifiers.

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