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PHOTO: LES MILLS

The health service needs to prescribe activity every time a drug is prescribed, says Gray

The NHS needs to shift £100m from the drugs budget to the activity therapy budget Muir Gray, Optimal Ageing What will these changes mean for the development of the sport and physical activity workforce? Tara: There are many opportunities for our sector. To take advantage of these, we need to prioritise a new style and skill set in leadership that allows us to create a different type of approach to workforce development locally. We need a leadership that can adopt a whole system approach to active lifestyles and work with local authorities, education providers and employers to show how healthy localities can impact social and economic outcomes. Stuart: We predict a significant contraction in the workforce for employed roles, which means displaced workers will either look to other sectors or set up new opportunities. Less employment in facilities will necessitate adaptation and becoming more flexible with where they work. Micro gyms, pop-up gyms, mobile activity provision at home or in community centres etc, will become increasingly essential.

Elaine: Opportunities for people to train in new and reimagined roles will be necessary to address a more holistic and community-based approach. Workforce development will need to ensure professionals can deliver a fully-rounded service and understand their local community’s needs and priorities to be part of the solution. What opportunities do you see? Muir: The health service needs to help – prescribing activity every time a drug is prescribed. Tara: There needs to be a greater understanding of the health and social priorities of local authorities. We need to work with local partners to become catalysts for change. We’ll work with key stakeholders, operators, active partnerships and sports bodies to shape and support a workforce around impactful, sustainable systemic change. Stuart: The possibilities are endless: retraining opportunities, employment solutions such as apprenticeships, traineeships and kickstart, as well ©Cybertrek 2021 Issue 5 2021

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