Successful first meeting of the Expert Group on Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport
On the 21st and 22nd of February the University of Bath hosted the first meeting of the European Commission Expert Group, called "Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport". Our Policy Director, Heidi Pekkola, participated in the meeting as ENGSO representative.
The European Commission has been invited to set up this Expert Group under the Third EU Work Plan for Sport (2017-2020) and the group will function in accordance with its Work Plan and the Commission Decision establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups. The outputs from the group will contribute to the Commission Report on the implementation of the Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020.
At the first meeting the core topic of discussion was skills and human resources development in sport in a broad context.
In the beginning of the first day of the meeting in Bath, the Commission held a presentation on the recent developments in sport policy and in the area of sport and education. The outcomes of the previous Expert Groups outcomes were also presented.
Later the day a session entitled “Education of coaches” was held, featuring two speakers. The first one was Kairis Ulp, the former Chair of the Council Working Party on Sport from the Estonian Presidency, who presented the Presidency’s achievements with a focus on the Council Conclusions on the role of coaches in society. The second speaker was Sergio Lara-Bercial from the European Coaching Council, who described the current coach education system in Europe.
Following the two speeches a discussion was held on coach education systems in each country.
The next session of the day was a site visit to the facilities of the University of Bath relating to dual careers of athletes as well as a presentation of the Dual Careers programmes in the UK, namely the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, TASS. The site visit was followed by a discussion and exchange of views about dual careers of athletes' policies and strategies in different countries.
The second day of the meeting started with a session on qualifications and skills in sport. A presentation was held by Cliff Collins from EuropeActive, showcasing the SIQAF and BLUEPRINT projects. The first one is supported by the DG Employment in the context of the priority axis called “Relevance of Sector and International Qualifications and Frameworks to the EQF”. The second one is an Erasmus+ funded collaborative partnership in the area of European standards development of coaches and instructors in the leisure sector.
It was followed by a presentation of the Sector Skills Alliance and ONSIDE projects by Stephen Studd and Simone Digennaro from EOSE. The European Sector Skills Alliance for Sport and Physical Activity Project is supported by DG Employment and strives to deliver the first Europe-wide Employment and Skills map for the entire sport and physical activity sector. The second one, ONSIDE - Innovative education to enhance the skills of Sport Officials in Europe - aims to explore the generic competences, skills and knowledge of sport officials and is supported by Erasmus+ programme.
The fifth session of the meeting was about key competences. It was introduced by the Commission and it was linked to the proposal for the revised Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning which has been recently adopted by the Commission.
Zoltán Boronyai from the Hungarian School Sport Federation presented the SHAPE Project (Shaping the principles of physical education), the goal of which is to compare regulatory documents and systems of school physical education in various Member States.
The last intervention was followed by some concluding remarks and discussions on the next steps in the operation of the Group. It was decided that the Group will put together guidelines on the state of play of coaching in different countries. In addition, exchange of best practices will take place especially in the area of qualifications and dual careers.
Heidi Pekkola had a positive overall impression on the meeting:
“Coaching is an important topic, which the Estonian Presidency had as a priority during the second half of 2017. It is important that this work continues. As highlighted in the meeting, we also wish that our SCORE project’s outcomes can contribute to the discussion and be acknowledged in the guidelines, since there is still a huge gender gap in coaching. Special actions are needed to break the ceilings for female coaches, and the SCORE toolkit includes very concrete actions.”