London and South East launches workforce development programme

Our region is launching a new Workforce Development Programme to address concerns about the shortage of instructors and personal development.
27 Apr 24
LSE workforce development SI course Queen Mary April 2024

Why the programme?

Feedback we receive from clubs and centres in the region is that they need more instructors and senior instructors, more personal development for club volunteers and staff, and guidance on where to find courses.

The aim is to help areas build their own tailored training. An example might be if West Sussex has a demand for powerboat instructors, but East Kent has a demand for senior instructors. Previously, for any regional training we looked at the region in a geographical way and picked out centres that we wanted to deliver training, and often they weren’t accessible. They were either at the wrong end of the region or the wrong time of year.

The plan

The plan is for a local Workforce Development Coordinator (WDC) for each area in our region to operate with guidance from Workforce Development Officer (WDO) Paul Outram. The WDCs will help guide clubs, centres and area sailing associations to establish their own local training plan that is tailored to local needs, taking a proactive approach to training across all small boat scheme disciplines, and utilising local funding opportunities. The aim is to keep it simple.

So far WDCs have been recruited for seven of the nine areas, with candidates sought for East and West Sussex.

Paul Outram windsurfing 739x432

Photo - WDO Paul Outram

The team

WDCs recruited to date and contact e-mails are:

For Sussex for now contact Paul Outram 

What might feature in a local programme

We are particularly looking at training to help grow and develop these area of sport:

  • Senior Instructor and Instructor training
  • Instructor resource and OnBoard resource training
  • Disability awareness training
  • Women on water specifically for ladies.

It’s desirable that programmes be funded locally, with help finding funding from RYA Funding Support Officers. A programme should involve active partnerships between area clubs, centres, funding bodies, and groups such as area sailing associations and the RYA.

What’s happened so far

WDO Paul Outram says: “We are starting to already see a response to the WDC role - in addition to our standard regional Senior Instructor course dates we run each year we have responded to requests and put on two additional courses. One of these ran midweek in April to support nine new club SIs going back into their clubs to support training this season.

“The other is now scheduled to run midweek at Whitstable Yacht Club Monday 2nd - Thursday 5th September 2024 to allow candidates from the Eastern part of our region to have a course more local to them.

“Some 10 different Recognised Training Centres comprising seven clubs and three commercial centres have benefited from gaining a new Senior Instructor so far this year."

LSE workforce development SI course 2 Queen Mary April 24

Photo, above and header - Senior Instructor training courses at Queen Mary in April. 

What happens next...

So what happens next? The WDC contacts above have been sent to all the clubs who are likely to need small boat scheme training. WDCs may reach out to clubs and centres just to touch base, or clubs and centres can ask their WDC for support. You’ll may recognise some of the WDCs as they are all people that live in the region and know the clubs and so they won’t be too far from you.

How can you help?

Your WDC may contact you for support and insight so please help them if they do. If not and your club/centre would be like to be involved please contact your area WDC at the e-mail links above.

RYA Regional Manager Steve Mitchell says: “We are the first region doing this kind of approach to workforce development. Most of you are talking to me about not having enough instructors, so hopefully this is something we can buy into and help those teams that are looking to make some movement in their areas.”