Volunteering and careers in sport

It is widely recognised that British sport is built on the hard work and dedication of volunteers. A Sport England study in 2002 estimated that there were 5.8 million volunteers in sport.

Runningsports is a Sport England programme dedicated to the education and training of volunteers. It is designed to help sports club officials and sports volunteers run their clubs as effectively as possible by addressing key issues such as volunteer management, club finances and development planning.

The runningsports website gives information on courses and home study packs, as well as good practice documents, reward resources, free downloadable resources including outlines of the role of several club officials, information about how to organise fixtures and competitions, and fundraising and taxation in sport. It also has volunteering news and developments as well as links to other useful websites.

If you are new to volunteering, go to Sport England's volunteers page which will give you ideas about how to volunteer. On a local level, you may wish to contact the Ealing Community and Voluntary Service or look at Ealing Council's community grants webpage, which has links to volunteering organisations.

SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning. Sector Skills Councils are employer-led organisations, which together form the Skills for Business Network.

SkillsActive is recognised and licensed by government and is charged with leading the skills and productivity drive within the Sport and Recreation, Health and Fitness, Playwork, and the Outdoors and Caravan industries – known as the Active Leisure and Learning Sector.

SkillsActive leads the development of the volunteer workforce and actively seeks ways to promote volunteering across the sector. Active leisure and learning already accounts for 26% of all voluntary activity in the UK and of this 26%, almost one-third is undertaken by young people aged between 16 and 24.


  • influences government and decision makers
  • promotes the image of the sector to the public
  • ensures the quality of training and qualifications
  • helps people find the jobs and training they need
  • helps the industry attract and retain the right staff
  • attracts funding to meet employers training needs

Ealing Volunteer Centre
Ealing Volunteer Centre (EVC) is part of Ealing Community and Voluntary Service (ECVS), which is the umbrella support organisation for voluntary organisations in the borough of Ealing.

ECVS provide a wide range of support services for local organisations, including:

  • funding advice
  • training courses
  • help with recruiting volunteers
  • support for health and social care groups
  • group development (including model policy documents)
  • community regeneration
  • admin services (eg mailings)
  • an information and resource library
  • advice on organisations and companies offering discounts to local groups
  • updates on national voluntary sector issues (such as Change Up)
  • latest local voluntary sector news

Careers in sports
The sport and leisure industry offers people a wide range of employment opportunities, from coaching to administrative posts, within a range of organisations, including voluntary and national organisations. There are many places to look for job vacancies in sport. Sport England advertises jobs within sports organisations including Sport England itself. It also lists other useful websites, which may provide job vacancy information.

Most local authorities advertise leisure sector vacancies along with other council jobs on their own website, and Active Ealing uses the Ealing Council jobs page to advertise vacancies.  

Education and training courses for coaches and officials
Many people already involved or looking to be involved in sport are interested in coaching and officiating as well as, or instead of, playing. Virtually all national governing bodies of sport have a programme of certificated courses that encourage people of all ages to learn more about coaching and officiating at every level of sport.

Whether you are a volunteer or a paid employee in the sport and leisure industry, it is important to keep up to date with the latest thinking and methods of delivery. There are a number of useful websites which carry details of general and sport-specific coach education courses in London. The websites of these national governing bodies of sport also carry the latest sport-specific coach education course programmes.

Sportscoach UK
Sportscoach UK is a nationwide organisation which provides generic coach education courses for new coaches and for more experienced coaches. The Sportscoach UK workshop programme is divided into two series, Coaching Essentials and Develop Your Coaching.

Coaching Essentials is a series of five workshops designed for people who have an interest in, or have limited experience of coaching and want to know more about what is good, safe and effective coaching. With each Coaching Essentials workshop you receive a complimentary resource.

Develop Your Coaching is a series of twenty workshops that cover a wide spectrum of topics, from Equity in your Training through to Injury Prevention and Management. These workshops are for coaches who want to further develop their coaching skills and knowledge to provide high quality coaching sessions. With the majority of Develop Your Coaching workshops you will receive a complimentary resource.

Visit the Sportscoach UK website and access the workshop programme.

Sports Leaders award courses
Sports Leaders UK is the new operating name of the British Sports Trust. This organisation through their Awards programmes uses sport to help people learn essential skills such as working with and organising others, as well as motivational, communication and teamwork skills.

Award course participants do not need to be budding sports stars – an interest in sport and a positive attitude are all that are required. There are currently a range of Sports Leaders UK awards available, including the Level 1 award in Sports Leadership, the Level 2 award in Basic Expedition Leadership, the Young Leader Award and the Award in Dance Leadership.

Institute of Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM)
The ISRM exists to advance and promote public health for the benefit of the public in particular through the provision of education, training and advancing medical and other sciences and technologies and by encouraging active participation in sport and other recreational activities.

The CCPR is the representative body for national sports organisations. The CCPR website has more information on training and education opportunities on its Education and Training page.