Finding a way to gain the skills needed for jobs in the leisure industry can be tricky but Apprenticeships provide a bridge into particular roles and are a way to earn while you learn. The Skills Partnership, a centre of excellence for Exercise and Fitness with success rates well above national benchmarks, provides support for businesses of any size with work-based learning for members of their existing staff and to recruit and train new Apprentices.
Hayley Bollons is just 20 years old and is currently completing her Advanced Apprenticeship level 3 in Teaching Physical Activity and Exercise (Personal Training) with The Skills Partnership, having previously completed her level 2 NVQ whilst working at the Guildford Spirit Health Club.
As Hayley explains, “I joined the Spirit team at the Holiday Inn, Guildford in November 2008 as a Lifestyle Consultant and I started my first work-based course to achieve a full NVQ at level 2. Then I started my advanced apprenticeship at level 3 last year with The Skills Partnership because I knew that I wanted to progress on and work toward my full level 3 Apprenticeship to become a Personal Trainer.”
“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, work in the Sports industry. I didn’t want to go on to Uni because I’m not majorly academic, if you just sit me down with a book I don’t get motivated, I’m much better with practical learning rather than constant writing which is why I think the NVQ worked for me. Of course there are written elements in the Apprenticeship but they are based on practical work experiences that you’ve had.”
With her advanced course at work underway Hayley can now do more 1-2-1 personal training work with clients, and as she points out, “I can now earn extra money for myself and for the company. It’s enhanced my knowledge, I now teach ‘Circuits’ and ‘Abs’ and lots of other classes too.”
Hayley is keen to point out how straight forward she found working and learning, “Learning at work has been perfect for me. My course was a mix of some off site training sessions and then on top of that I had meetings at work with my personal tutors. My tutors have been really good, you get to know them and they support you through the course.”
Hayley is clearly a very motivated individual and is passionate about her choice of industry and the benefits that being able to join an Apprenticeship programme have delivered for her. She confirms that being able to develop her skills on the job has opened up further opportunities at work, “I got employee of the year for 2010 and I also got promoted to Deputy Club manager this year.”
Ross Cowie, Spirit’s Training Manger for Health and Fitness in the UK and Ireland is very clear about his support for Apprenticeships and is pleased with how the programmes that have been developed for Spirit are working. “We are able to up skill our teams with nationally recognised qualifications. Learning and support takes place in the workplace and is therefore much easier for learners to access. I would certainly encourage other employers to get involved”.
Hayley agrees, “I’d say that an Apprenticeship is a great opportunity because it not only increases your knowledge but you have that practical real life work experience and when youâ€™re going for promotions and future jobs it’s the experience that counts.”
“Now that I’ve moved into a management role, I will continue to learn while I’m working, I’d like to look at Leisure Management qualifications now”.
Hayley has been given a wonderful opportunity with the backing of her employer, who is clearly fully supportive of the Apprenticeship model and the support of The Skills Partnership. “I would certainly recommend the Apprenticeship to any young person looking to get into a particular industry.”
Other employers should take note, Hayley is representative of a number of young people from age 16 and upwards that are looking to channel their enthusiasm into learning on the job and for a relatively modest outlay you could be developing these talented people.
The Skills Partnership is a National Apprenticeship Service approved work-based training provider that works with employers and individuals that are looking to undertake Apprenticeship courses. The Skills Partnership can advise employers and individual applicants on courses and funding available to them across a wide range of industries including; Health and Fitness, Business and Customer Support Services, Creative, Retail, Hospitality and Industrial.
Mike Bourke CEO of The Skills Partnership explains, â€œOur approach is to work closely with our employer clients in order to understand what their business priorities are particularly in terms of the training and recruitment requirements that they need in order to hit their bottom line business objectives. The range of Apprenticeship frameworks have proved themselves to be flexible enough to meet a wide range of skills gaps identified by our clients.â€
James Bishop, Business Development Director adds, â€œWe are able to demonstrate to the employers that we work with that Apprenticeship provision is able to provide tangible results for businesses, such as; reductions in staff turnover; reductions in unplanned absence and measurable improvements in client customer satisfaction. We also see through analysis of staff engagement surveys before and after training activity that employees have improved motivation and productivity. Providing the Apprenticeship opportunity also enables businesses to access government funding to support training budgets and this is invaluable in what are certainly challenging economic times.â€