VSPORT+: a European project to provide answers to one of the main challenge of the Sport and Active Leisure sector.
Context and challenges of the sector
Sport is ingrained across society, engaging a large percentage of the population, and has a huge potential to address wider European and Government agendas including, health, social inclusion, education, and now regeneration and economic growth.
If the sector is to meet these challenges and impact positively on these wider agendas it is imperative that it continues to change and that those working or volunteering in the sector are equipped with the necessary skills and competences to perform in the labour market.
One of the consequences is that the relevance of existing sport qualifications and training programmes is often not recognised by employers and federations.
At this crucial time it has become apparent that there is a worrying gap between the world of education and the world of employment. These worlds need to work together the effect the changes that are needed to modernise the Sector.
Furthermore 2012 saw the emergence of the EQF (European Qualification Framework) but Sport qualifications continue to sit outside it and the emerging NQFs (National Qualification Framework).
A response to these challenges: The Lifelong Learning Strategy for the Sport and Active Leisure sector
Aligned with European policies and strategic VET initiatives such as the European Qualification Framework (EQF), EOSE developed in 2009 a co-ordinated response to education and training entitled “Lifelong Learning Strategy for the whole Sport and Active Leisure sector”.
Figure 2: The Lifelong Learning Strategy for Sport and Active Leisure (EOSE, 2012)
The ultimate objective was to provide a mechanism which can successfully link the worlds of education and employment and equip the workforce with the expected skills through fit for purpose qualifications and training programs. In other words, the Strategy provides a framework for the development of a strategic approach to ensure that vocational education, training and qualifications exist to support the development of this workforce.
One of the key parts of the Lifelong Learning Strategy is the development of industry-led occupational standards specifying the standards of performance that people are expected to achieve in their work, and the knowledge and skills they need to perform effectively.
These standards, mainly developed by employers and experts, identify the competence and skills needed in a particular sector, sub-sector or occupation and are therefore a valuable resource to ensure that qualifications and training programmes meet the labour market needs and demands.
The VSPORT+ Project: a unique opportunity for the sector
Funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, the project will last 29 months from 01/11/2011 to 31/03/2014.
Its aim is to lead to the modernisation of sport training systems and support the concept of a qualified and competent workforce allowing the Sport and Active Leisure sector to realise its potential.
Its detailed work plan has been designed to:
- Further raise awareness and ensure a successful dissemination of the Lifelong Learning Strategy at the International, European, national, regional and local levels
- Encourage and support the transfer, use and implementation of the Lifelong Learning Strategy at all levels
- Stimulate and introduce changes within current vocational education systems by transferring and implementing the Lifelong Learning Strategy
- Ensure VET systems and qualifications are fit for purpose and aid employability, transparency and mobility.
EOSE, with the support of its network of National Ambassadors from 12 different Member States and two third country partners from Australia and New-Zealand, have carried out a large number of communication and valorisation activities at all levels during the first part of VSPORT+ and is planning many others during the second half.
The project has trully the potential to facilitate the changes the sector needs to become more organised and successful in taking its place as a sector of significance at the European level.
Further information about the project on www.vsportplus.eu
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
The content reflects the views of the authors only, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.