Name of Network: Leisure, Health & Fitness Skillnet
Number of members: 350
Sector(s) covered: Leisure, Health & Fitness sector
Year established: 2019
Please describe what your Skillnet Business Network does and how it came about?
The Leisure, Health & Fitness (LHF) Skillnet provides talent development programmes specific to the leisure, health and fitness industry in collaboration with its promoting body Ireland Active. We are dedicated to finding the best solutions to support businesses in developing their teams. Programmes are provided to Ireland Active and REPs Ireland members who operate businesses that include leisure facilities, health clubs, education and training providers, gyms and more.
Can you outline one important way your Network impacts positively on your sector?
We deliver tailored, sector-specific talent development solutions at substantially reduced costs, to support leisure employers and their business needs. We help those in the sector grow their business and develop the necessary skills to excel in the ever-changing leisure industry.
What has been the most transformative initiative in your sector in the last year?
Over the past 18 months, the industry has seen some major challenges, as has every other industry. Through the Skills Connect initiative, ensuring that employees of Ireland Active member facilities and REPs Ireland members were still able to upskill and further their ability to gain employment once restrictions were lifted was vitally important. We offered a diverse range of programmes to ensure that all staff levels had access to professional development, from senior management to fitness instructors. The focus of the programmes was not just about fitness but also focused on social media marketing, how to run a business successfully and other key management development areas.
What new trends do you see emerging within your industry?
A recent survey was completed by members of both Ireland Active and REPs Ireland to find out what the key trends are for the industry. Given the industry has transitioned over the past 18 months, some areas highlighted to help the industry grow to include; swimming teachers and lifeguards, building your own business online and the area of energy and climate.
How is your Skillnet Business Network using technology to facilitate learning and development programmes?
It was clear that there is a keen emphasis on having a blended learning approach in the industry going forward into 2022. For example, using platform likes Zoom or Microsoft Teams allowed the industry to stay connected and this shift will continue in the future. Adopting a blended approach is something that we have adapted to within the network to ensure that members are getting the best training possible.
What skills do you think are most important for a small business owner/manager?
For small business owners or managers, I think that being adaptable in these ever-changing times is crucial. Over the past 18 months, it has been evident that the industry had to adapt the way that it works, and I think this is a testament to the staff who are working in these facilities from senior management to the staff on the ground, teaching classes, working reception desks and so on. This wouldn’t be possible without the excellent leadership skills that are within the industry and having the knowledge to do these things by upskilling and developing industry talent through LHF Skillnet.
Do you have any advice for a business that is considering joining a Skillnet Business Network?
The Network structure gives a business a great opportunity to not only expand their knowledge through dedicated programmes but also through peer-to-peer learning. What can be learnt from each other’s experiences has been found to be a real benefit to our members.
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