CIMSPA launches its Professional Standards Matrix with first six standards

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity has launched the CIMSPA Professional Standards Matrix and has published the first six professional standards that sit within the matrix.

The CIMSPA Professional Standards Matrix has emerged in response to employer demands for a simplified training landscape within the UK’s sport and physical activity sector. CIMSPA is backed by employers, government and national sporting bodies to lead on workforce development projects for the sector, and the CIMSPA Professional Standards Matrix is a key part of its contribution to the government’s Sporting Future strategy.

The first six published standards are for the roles of personal trainer, swimming teacher, core group exercise instructor, gym instructor, recreation assistant and lifeguard.

Each professional standard defines the scope of a job role and the knowledge and skills an individual must understand and demonstrate to be deployed as a sector professional in that role. Each also covers the learning and development requirements of the role, with guidance for education providers to use when developing educational products for that role.

The standards have been created by CIMSPA professional development committees, overseen by the sector’s professional development board, the work of which has been supported and facilitated by CIMSPA. The chartered institute’s employer, skills development and awarding organisation partners have all contributed to the development of the first six standards.

Speaking about the creation of the CIMSPA Professional Standards Matrix, Richard Millard, partnerships director, Places for People Leisure and chair of the CIMSPA professional development board, said: “I’d like to thank every organisation that has contributed time and expertise to this hugely important milestone in professionalising the sport and physical activity sector’s workforce. Having so many of the sector’s key employers around the table has been vital in ensuring that the standards produced are exactly what the sector needs to improve every aspect of workforce and skills development.

“Creating a single set of professional standards is something the sector has been talking about for decades, so completing the first six standards in less than a year is testament to a sector which has come together, set its workforce development goals and delivered.

“I’m also keen to recognise CIMSPA’s role here – having a chartered professional body ensuring all were pulling in the same direction has been a key catalyst in moving the sector from debate to action.”
Tara Dillon, CIMSPA CEO, added: “The publication of these professional standards is a key achievement in CIMSPA’s goal to create a sector workforce that can play a role in tackling the inactivity crisis. We’re now looking forward to accelerating our work to cover all of the sector’s key occupations and job roles.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the best of the sector’s employers, awarding bodies and trainers to create these standards – true beacons of professionalism. Sport and physical activity has risen to the expectations of health professionals and we can now focus on developing joint working practices to play our part in improving the nation’s health.

“To support the standards project, CIMSPA will extend our existing endorsement process for the approval of qualifications and CPD against these new standards. Qualifications based on the first CIMSPA professional standards are just around the corner, so the key to success is giving learners and education providers confidence that CIMSPA will proactively check that quality benchmarks are being met, through robust quality assurance procedures.”

The next cycle of CIMSPA standards development is already underway, with content being created for coach, coaching assistant, and management standards, as well as specialism standards for working with different populations an d in different environments.

For more information and to access the first six CIMSPA professional standards, visit

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