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Shared Press Release

Innovative academy launched to support careers in leisure

A PIONEERING initiative has been launched in the North-East to promote careers in the leisure industry.

The Tees Active Future Workforce Academy, thought to be the first of its kind in the North-East, is aimed at creating opportunities and preparing people for fulfilling roles in the sector.

The leisure industry faces national recruitment challenges, with a shortage of swimming coaches a particular problem, and the academy is seen as an innovative way of boosting suitable candidates for a variety of leisure disciplines.

Tees Active employs 370 people and the academy will offer valuable people of all ages workplace experience and industry-recognised qualifications, leading to employment opportunities.

Managing director, Leon Jones, said: “This is an exciting and innovative step towards tackling an issue that faces the leisure industry not just in our area but nationwide. Our team has been visiting local colleges and secondary schools to talk to students about the plan for the academy. The feedback has been fantastic, so we look forward to building on those partnerships.”

Tees Active, a charitable trust delivering a wide range of leisure activities as a strategic partner of Stocktonon-Tees Borough Council, has been working on the plans with partners, including Job Centre Plus.

Tees Active’s initiative has been endorsed by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), with Clare Dunn, Associate Director, Business Engagement Partnerships at CIMSPA saying: “We’re working across the UK to highlight and tackle the recruitment challenges in this sector, and we are delighted that Tees Active has established the Future Workforce Academy, which will be the leading the way in the North-East.

“There’s some fantastic work going on in the region and it’s exciting to see there’s an understanding of the importance of sport and physical activity to the local economy and an appetite for collaboration.”

Bede College Sixth Form College, at Stockton, is among the education providers to have been consulted and a spokesperson added: “We are delighted to continue our work with the Tees Active Future Workforce Academy, ensuring that our students have knowledge, skills and experience to thrive in the leisure industry.

“We have had students progress from work placements with Tees Active and move straight into full-time employment or apprenticeships.  The initiative caters for all of our learners and can help qualify them to work within the industry. I’d encourage any providers or organisations to work in partnership with Tees Active and the academy.”

The academy’s ‘Kickstart Programme’ offers several part or fully-funded qualifications for those wanting to access qualifications that will lead to job opportunities. There is also a ‘Restart Programme’ for those looking for a new challenge.

The academy is designed to build on Tees Active’s highly successful apprenticeship programme, which has been running for more than ten years, and has a track record of 95 per cent of apprentices going on to full employment.

The initiative has been led by Darren Humphrey, Tees Active’s Area Operations Manager, along with Workforce Development Manager Kerry Swan.

Darren said: “We know there are a lot of people out there with great skills and experience who would love to work in leisure but don’t know how. The academy removes barriers and creates a clear pathway.”

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