Course introduction

Year on year the sport and active leisure sector outperforms the rest of the UK economy; this has been a trend since the end of the economic recession of the late 1990s, and researchers predict will continue to be the case for years to come, long after the sports legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Starting: September 2020

Course information

The annual contribution of the sport sector to the UK economy is over £8 billion. This sector has more than 36,000 employers creating work for more than 600,000 full-time and part-time employees, and 5 million plus volunteers. A significant proportion of the total volunteer workforce is volunteering in sport, with most of them involved in sports coaching or activity leadership.

Despite the prevalence of this sector, a third of the workforce in the sector have either no formal qualifications or are only qualified at level 1. In addition, feedback from employers suggests that skills shortages are responsible for a large proportion of the vacancies in this sector. These factors highlight the importance of formally recognised level 3 qualifications in this sector, such as these BTEC qualifications in Sport.

Recent years have seen bold attempts to regulate the sport sector and the employees and volunteers who work within it. This has included the UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC), an endorsement of coaching qualifications aligned to a nationally agreed framework, and the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), a process of self-regulation recognising industry-based qualifications and practical competency, requiring fitness professionals to work within a Code of Ethical Practice.


These BTEC qualifications in Sport provide an introduction to the sector for learners looking to build a career in sport, within one of its occupational areas.These areas include careers in exercise and fitness, coaching and leadership, sports development and the outdoors. At the BTEC Diploma and Extended Diploma level, there are three specific specialist pathways to choose from:

  • Performance and Excellence
  • Development, Coaching and Fitness
  • Outdoor Adventure

The specification has been structured to allow learners maximum flexibility in selecting optional units, so that particular interests and career aspirations within the sport and active leisure sector can be reflected in the choice of unit combinations.

Example Pathway

The BTEC Diploma and Extended Diploma in Sport allow learners to select optional units that reflect their aspirations, and the diverse nature of the sector. For example, those wishing to pursue a career in the fitness industry could complete the following units from the Performance and Excellence pathway:

  • Principles of Anatomy and Physiology in Sport
  • The Physiology of Fitness
  • Assessing Risk in Sport
  • Fitness Training and Programming
  • Fitness Testing for Sport and Exercise
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Psychology for Sports Performance
  • Technical and Tactical Skills in Sport
  • The Athlete’s Lifestyle
  • Current Issues in Sport
  • Instructing Physical Activity and Exercise
  • Sports Injuries
  • Sports Facilities and Operational Management

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