Your Ultimate Guide to Sports & Fitness Apprenticeships

Sports apprenticeships come in all shapes and sizes.

There are lots of opportunities available in the world of sports and fitness, from coaching professional athletes to teaching the next generation of up-and-comers.

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Sports & Fitness Apprenticeships: Young man kicking football with pink background

Going for gold.

A huge amount of work takes place behind the scenes to make the sports we love run as well as they do. From fitness trainers to managers, sports scientists to therapists (to name just a few).

Whether you like kicking a football around, skating on ice or getting comfy to watch F1, you’ll know the positive impact that sport can have around the world.

The best part is that you don’t even have to be an athlete to work in sport – after all, there are millions of people behind the scenes who make every race, match and competition happen.

Deciding that you want to do an apprenticeship in sport is a great first step on your road to some great jobs and qualifications. However, your next task is to work out what part you want to play in the sports industry.

What kind of work do you want to be doing day-to-day? Do  you want a shorter course to learn the basics fast, or perhaps a sports degree apprenticeship to gain a university qualification?

Sports apprenticeships can be broken down into so many different paths, from working in leisure centres and gyms, to supporting the health and wellbeing of children.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of sports apprenticeships you could choose to pursue.

Types of Sports Apprenticeships:

Sports Coaching Apprenticeships

Everyone is always trying to get better. That’s why even the best sportspeople in the world need coaches.

A sports coaching apprenticeship can be a great way into a varied career in sport. Not only will it give you the chance to earn much sought after coaching qualifications, but you also get the chance to learn on the job every single day.

Some skills that wannabe sports coaches must develop include great communication skills, and a willingness to become a life-long-learner. One of the great benefits of sports coaching is the ability to keep learning and improving. It’s not just about your physical training, education is really important too, to help give you a tactical edge.

There’s a lot you can do with a sports coaching apprenticeship under your belt, from working as an outdoors activity coach to setting up your own training business.

Coaching apprenticeships are available in several different sports, including football. As a football coach you might expect to split your time between developing training routines, evaluating progress, and continuing to learn new coaching skills and techniques.

PE Teacher Apprenticeships

If PE was your absolutely favourite lesson at school, have you ever thought about beckoning a PE teacher yourself?

If you love all kinds of sports, and enjoy showing people how to join in and improve, then a PE teacher apprenticeship might be right up your street. Sports and physical education plays an incredibly big part in our overall fitness, both physically and mentally.

For a lot of people, PE is a great introduction to lots of different sports, and as a PE apprentice you could be the one responsible for getting more people involved in fitness and sport.

With a Level 3 apprenticeship in support teaching and PE, you could be on your way towards becoming a fully qualified PE teacher.

Fitness Apprenticeships

Fitness is another area in sports where apprenticeships can make a real difference. Be it as a personal trainer, a sports scientist, or a gym apprentice.

Working as a fitness apprentice, you will be required to stay up-to-date on the latest training techniques and science, while also maintaining your own physical fitness. These types of apprenticeships can lead to level 3 and 4 qualifications, and could set you up nicely to become a qualified fitness instructor or personal trainer.

Another area of fitness that benefits from apprentice opportunities is working as an outdoor activity instructor. This is an exciting and varied job taking groups of children and adults to try outdoor activities like climbing, cycling, and canoeing.

And let’s not forget the scientists. Sports health practitioners like physiotherapists and sports scientists can also start their career with an apprenticeship, many of which can lead to gaining a university degree.

Personal Trainer Apprenticeships

Love getting a great workout in at the gym? You can become a personal trainer and create customised fitness programmes for your clients and guide them in their training to keep them safe from injury.

Personal trainers also host workout classes and private sessions, and you can specialise in certain types of movement like weight training or strength and conditioning.

Community Sport and Health Officer

You might find a job like this advised by the local council or leisure centre. A community sport and health officer engages local communities to get fitter and healthier.

You’ll work with a diverse range of people in places like schools and youth centres and provide physical education lessons. You might also work with other professionals in the local area like support workers, teachers and sports coaches.

Entry requirements?

Almost every apprenticeship in the sports industry will expect you to have a minimum of five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4. English, maths and science are essential, so you’ll need to focus extra hard on achieving decent marks. Even if you don’t quite reach the academic requirements, keep your chin up – sports apprenticeships are about your personal skills too, which is where you can really shine.

Working well with others and in a team will get you far. After all, even if you are teaching or guiding a fitness session on your own, you’ll still need to engage your clients or students and build good relationships with them. Some people are more serious about exercise than others, and you will probably need to remain patient at times. Whether you teach sport for fun, education or competitive reasons, as long as you maintain great communication skills and an upbeat attitude, you’ll succeed in this industry.

Apprentice Levels

Apprenticeships are split into levels. The higher the level, the higher the qualification you’ll get:

It takes anywhere from one year to six years to complete an apprenticeship, and there’s no age limit. If you complete a Level 3 course when you finish school, you might wait until you are in your twenties, thirties or even forties to take the next step! There’s no time pressure to start, but when you do, you can enjoy earning great cash while you learn.

Sector spotlight

There’s lots of innovation going on in the sporting at the moment, and there are a few exciting technological advancements that might change the world of sport as we know it. What does the future look like?

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll see that the UK government is banning the sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2030, but what effect with it have on racing sports like F1, drag, MotoGP and more? Formula E is already putting hybrid and electric vehicles in the spotlight.

Artificial intelligence is also a big one, and you’ve probably heard that generative AI (Google it!) like ChatGPT can create detailed training and nutrition plans for users, which could leave personal trainers scratching their heads. Elsewhere, big sports teams and institutions like FIFA use AI to assist referees, predict player injuries and analyse game footage to help teams improve their play.

Off the pitch, digital NFTs are transforming the way collectors buy and sell sports memorabilia. While some experts believe NFTs aren’t worth the hype, they provide digital ‘proof’ that your item is totally unique and legitimate. After all, sometimes it’s hard to verify collectors’ items in real life.

How do you think these innovations will make waves in the sporting industry, and what do you reckon is next?

Behind the scenes

We’ve given you a taste of the sort of thing you can do with a sports apprenticeship, but in reality, we haven’t even scratched the surface. The world of sport has millions of varied roles and skills that require special people to fill. From the f1 engineers that make Mercedes fly, to the accountants and finance experts who make sure Man United are profitable.

If you still haven’t made your mind up about what you want to do, that’s OK. Take a look at our discovery hub for even more apprenticeship inspiration.