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Millions of people work in the sport and physical activity sector, either paid or unpaid – giving them the best possible experience and support is a top priority.

What's the workforce?

The sport and physical activity workforce is made up of volunteers, coaches and the professional workforce – paid professionals who are employed or self-employed either full-time or part-time. 

Coaches who are paid for the work they do would be considered part of the professional workforce, but like volunteers, many will give their time to support sport and activity.

Our aspiration is to ensure that people who are engaged in sport and physical activity have the best possible experience.

To achieve this, the workforce must be recruited, developed and supported in the right way.

Coach points to posters on the wall


You can click on the buttons at the top or bottom of this page to read more about how we're supporting the workforce, or read on for an overview.

Professional workforce

There are many organisations that are already exceptional in developing their employees, and those giving their time for free, to provide an excellent customer experience.

We'd like this to become more widespread, so that the sport and physical activity sector is seen as a leader in customer experience and satisfaction.

Our professional workforce plan has two main objectives – to support the workforce to become more customer focused, and to develop the workforce so that it's recognised as professional.


Volunteers have always played a vital part in the sport and physical activity sector. Without them, most activity simply wouldn’t happen. 

For that reason, we’ve tended to think of volunteering as something people only do for the benefit of others. But our Volunteering in an Active Nation strategy is looking to change these perceptions.

That’s why we’re putting increased diversity and the experience of existing volunteers at the heart of efforts to create a more enjoyable, meaningful volunteering experience.


Good coaching has enormous benefits for both the people who take part and the people doing the coaching.

At the moment, coaching largely supports the people who already have a regular sporting habit. These people are important, and improving their experience is key.

But for the first time, we also want to unleash the power of coaching for all of those people taking their first steps to becoming more physically active, so that they too can benefit from the support that good coaches provide – that’s why we’ve developed our coaching plan for England.

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