After identifying and mobilising the Active Leisure sector as a combination of the fitness and outdoor sub-sectors from 2008 onwards, EuropeActive and the European Confederation of Outdoor Employers (EC-OE) launched the Sector Skills Alliance for Active Leisure in 2016. The alliance was comprised of a strategic cooperation between key stakeholders: employers, operators, trade unions, research, education, training institutions, public authorities and civil society organisations. Many activities, including several EU-funded projects, were then successfully run to promote education, skills and employment cooperation in the sector.  
 
The conclusions of the BLUEPRINT project (2018-2020) suggested the Active Leisure sector should move forward to realise a new and enhanced position as part of more broadly conceived healthcare services, through the increasing recognition of the importance of healthy lifestyles for all policy actions, and the role of health-enhancing physical activity. 
 
Recently, EuropeActive has been working towards the launch of the Sector Skills Alliance (SSA) for Fitness and Physical Activity in October 2021, which will broaden the scope of the previous SSA for Active Leisure. It envisages a broader range of stakeholders, organisations, and strategic partners from across the Fitness and Physical Activity Sector to cooperate in the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles.  
 
The purpose of the SSA is to gather relevant labour market intelligence and foresight to identify sector-specific needs, demands for new occupational profiles, and the necessary skills to perform in a dynamic, ever-changing sector. 
 
Invitations will be sent out this week for the first meeting of the SSA which will take place on October 27th, gathering representatives from employer organisations, training providers, independent fitness professionals, national fitness associations, academics, etc. The ambition of this first meeting is to create a forum to address the sector’s most pressing challenges, identify the areas where research is needed, and ultimately agree on the sectoral strategy for the Fitness and Physical Activity Sector. The SSA is a formal advisory group to help guide and inform EuropeActive in its policy development and actions to promote skills and employment cooperation across the sector. 
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Sep 30, 2021 By Pauline Joskin