Sports Development Officer

Supporting the community to develop sports and physical activities from local government
Local government sports development teams are responsible for the provision, promotion, development and management of programmes and initiatives to increase sports participation within all areas of the local community.

Work Environment
Local government sports development officers are office-based, but spend some of their time visiting sport and leisure facilities for meetings or particular events.  They usually work a standard 37 hour week, but there may be some evening or weekend work required.
Daily Activities
Local government sports development officers establish, implement and monitor the local council's sports development plan and ensure that participation in sport is encouraged and promoted to all sections of the local community.  They consult with partner organisations and the public about sports development and opportunities, in order to improve services and increase participation.

The specific duties of a local government sports development officer may vary according to the individual responsibility of the role and the location, but they might include some or all of the following tasks:

  • planning and promoting regular activities and initiatives for specific groups, such as helping young people discover and develop their sporting potential, or physical activities for older people;
  • planning and promoting large scale sporting events, such as fun runs, marathons, youth games, football tournaments, family days and athletics meets;
  • working closely with schools to support the National Physical Education and Sport Strategy and develop the links between sports clubs and schools;
  • supporting volunteering initiatives such as Sport Wales Behind Every Star;
  • implementing and coordinating coaching education and mentoring schemes;
  • sourcing funding opportunities for sport related projects;
  • working with partner organisations and sports clubs across the local area to develop the delivery of sporting opportunities.

Skills & Interests
Local government sports development officers need:

  • an interest and ability in sport;
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • good organisational skills;
  • to be good team workers;
  • creativity in implementing strategies and plans;
  • motivational skills to encourage others.

Entry Requirements
Most local councils ask for a degree or HND in sport development, sport science or related subject.  Alternatively, or additionally, they might ask for a portfolio of relevant sport related qualifications including national coaching qualifications (possibly N/SVQs), an Apprenticeship, or first aid qualifications.  There are often voluntary opportunities to get involved in sports coaching, which is valuable experience when applying for sports development jobs.   There are professional qualifications available through ISPAL and the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management.
Future Prospects & Opportunities
Local government sports development officers may be able to progress into more managerial positions within the leisure services department.

Further Information & Services
Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport & Physical Activity
Skills Active
Sport Wales

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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