The first meeting of the newly re-constituted Expert Group on Skills and Human Resource Development in Sport* -set up on invitation of the European Commission under the Third EU Work Plan for Sport (2017-2020-, was organised in Bath (UK) from February 20 to 22, 2018 under the leadership of Yves Le Lostecque and Agata Dziarnowska, from the Sport Unit of DGEAC and hosted by Guy Taylor (the former Chair of the Group) of TASS at the University of Bath (UK). The meeting provided an opportunity to review the legacy and outcomes of the predecessor Group which had embraced a wide-ranging and heavy work programme embracing key issues such as Dual Careers, Qualifications and Employability, producing 5 major documents on these issues.
24 Member States have expressed an interest in participating in the new Expert Group and the meeting gave the opportunity for the Member States to receive updates on the EU Work Plan for Sport and presentations from the invited Observers. Presentations by EOSE’s representative, Mr Stephen Studd, Director of Development and Mr Simone Digennaro, Treasuer, on the ESSA-Sport and ONSIDE projects and EuropeActive (on the work of the Active Leisure Alliance and their new “Blueprint” project) highlighted the issues around qualifications, the reform of the EQF and the need for employment relevance for qualifications, with the view to these being adopted by the Expert Group in their future agendas. Having being invited as an ad-hoc speaker for this 1st meeting and as an observer is another major step on the recognition of the work carried by EOSE and its network. In particular, the European Sector Skills Alliance for Sport and Physical Activity project -which aims to produce an employment and skills map of the Sector across the EU, based on national reports and wide consultation, concluding at the end of 2019 – links closely to the focus of the Expert Group and the intention is to build a close connection between the Group members and the project as the work continues.
The Education of Coaches, presented by the ECC (apart of the ICCE), and the presentation of the outcomes of the Estonian Presidency were also featured as a major topic. The visit to Bath gave the opportunity to review the work of the Group on Dual Careers and the issues arising from the implementation of the Guidelines and in particular to see Dual Careers in action through the successful TASS programme linked to the University. The Group had the opportunity to input ideas and priorities for the future work of the Group and, in discussion, the Role and Education of coaches and the duty of care for athletes in the context of dual careers were put forward for consideration by the Sport Unit.
The final aspect of the explorative discussions focussed on the development and recognition of key competences with the aim of strengthening the role of sport in developing employability but also in supporting the lifelong learning of the workforce.
Further consideration will be given to these issues by the Sport Unit in order to draft a work programme for the Group that is both relevant to the Work Plan for Sport but also manageable for the Group.
*The goal of the Expert Group is to provide advice and expertise to the Commission in relation to the preparation of policy initiatives and the implementation of the Third EU Work Plan for Sport. The group will meet at least twice per year. The members of the group are nominated by each Member State and the Commission may invite observers and speakers for each meeting on an ad-hoc basis