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a profession in motion As new standards and training are introduced in order to raise professional levels in the sport and physical activity sector, CIMSPA CEO Tara Dillon talks to Rob Gibson about changes which are afoot


he sport and physical activity sector has come a long way in recent years, with plenty to celebrate in areas such as access, affordability and diversity. However, professional standards have long caused confusion, with employers and staff both losing out

as a result – not to mention the impact on consumers. The Chartered Institute for the Management of

Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) received its chartered status in 2012 – meaning it is recognised

by the Privy Council as the professional development body for the sector. It has two long-term strategic priorities: to provide opportunities for young leaders to develop and succeed; and to provide leadership on the development and management of career pathways. But with so much at stake, and an array of opportunities, risks and politics to tackle, how much progress has been made in the quest for improvement and, ultimately, a better profession for everyone?

There’s a drive from employers and government to bring physical activity and health closer together

Land of opportunity “There’s never been a more exciting time to enter the

by a doctor, improving an athlete’s performance or

sport and physical activity sector – and I’ve been in it for

improving the life skills and physical literacy of children.

30 years,” says Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, who started

The sector used to be very narrow but in the past 10

out as a lifeguard. “It used to be solely focused on sport:

to 15 years it’s become so exciting and empowering.”

you would teach a sport or lifeguard at a swimming pool,

Dillon admits that the widening of the sector has

whereas now you could be treating patients referred

brought its challenges. “We should be pulling together


Issue 135 January/february 2018

Profile for Leisure Media

Sports Management issue 135  

Sports Management issue 135