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Aquatic and Community Recreation

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Aquatic and Community Recreation sector, which is one component of the Sport, Fitness and Recreation industry.

Community Recreation refers to recreation at the local level, such as community recreation facilities and community activity programs. The organisations involved in community recreation are diverse and run across national, state and territory, and local levels.

The delivery of Community Recreation activities is facilitated by commercial providers, clubs, schools, higher education institutions, youth and community groups and local governments. Recreation activities are also supported by the management of venues and facilities, such as aquatic centres, outdoor centres and camps.

There are over 1,300 public swimming pools across Australia and approximately the same number of swimming and water safety schools. These facilities play a vital role in aquatic skill development, recreation, sport and healthy active lifestyles in the community. In addition, they provide Australians with a safe place in which they can familiarise themselves with water activities, supported by lifeguards, good visibility and marked depths which enable visitors to develop their aquatic survival skills in a low-risk environment.

Aquatic facilities provide employment opportunities for local people and are essential to the social fabric of the community, particularly in rural and remote communities.

Examples of job roles within this sector that require vocational education and training include:

  • Sports and Recreation Centre Managers
  • Pool Lifeguards
  • Aquatic Exercise Instructor
  • Swimming and Water Safety Teacher.

Nationally recognised training for Aquatic and Community Recreation is delivered under the SIS – Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package. 

For more information on SportOutdoor Recreation and Fitness sectors, please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Sport and Recreation IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecast

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Sport and Physical Recreation industry has risen substantially over the period between 2000 and 2018, with a further increase projected up until 2023. The Amusement and Other Recreation Activities industry has also seen a rise in employment levels over the same period and a further increase is predicted over the next five years.

Fitness Instructors, Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials make up over 25% of the Sport and Recreation Activities industry workforce (excluding Horse and Dog Racing Activities). Employment levels in these occupations are projected to further increase between 2018 and 2023, by 18.4% and 20.1% respectively.

Amusement, Fitness and Sports Centre Managers currently make up over 7% of the industry workforce and the employment level for this occupation is projected to grow by 16.2% between 2018 and 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 7,800 program enrolments in aquatic and community sector qualifications during 2017 and 245 completions. Enrolments have decreased by more than 70% between 2014 and 2017 (down from roughly 27,000 enrolments to around 7,800) and although completions increased slightly between 2014 and 2015, they have been in decline since then, with a substantial 81.5% decrease between 2016 and 2017 (falling from nearly 1,330 enrolments to only 245). 

Data note: Training data for Certificate II in Community Activities and Certificate IV in Community Recreation has been included in the above charts, however these qualifications have been superseded by Certificate II in Sport and Recreation and Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation respectively (for training data on these qualifications please visit the Sport sector page).

The vast majority of training is at the certificate III level (89%) with the majority in aquatics and aimed at the intended occupation of Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials. The bulk of this training is provided by private training providers (79%) and community education providers (16%).  Domestic fee-for-service funding is dominant for training provided by community education providers (95%) and private training providers (92%). While training is Commonwealth and state funded for all schools, nearly 98% of TAFE institutes, and 91% of enterprise providers. Most students lived in New South Wales (30%), Queensland (20%) and Victoria (20%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements peaked in 2014 before declining dramatically until 2017 (falling from approximately 1,430 commencements to just over 60). Completions peaked in 2015 but also declined in the years that followed, with a particularly significant decrease between 2016 (535 students) and 2017 (86 students). The intended occupations were community workers and sports coaches, instructors and officials. Most apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in Victoria.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region please visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Sport and Recreation IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast, the top priority skills required in the Sports and Recreation industry overall can be broken down as follows.

Top priority industry and occupation specific skills include an awareness of:

  • Sports governance
  • Drugs in sport
  • Integrity in sport.

Other top priority skills include:

  • Mentoring skills
  • Skills in diversity and inclusion
  • Presenting skills
  • Skills in child protection
  • Skills for responding to harassment and discrimination.

The top three generic skills identified in the Skills Forecast for Sports and Recreation were:

  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Customer Service / Marketing
  • Managerial / Leadership.

The importance of communication skills is supported by findings from the job vacancy data, in which communication was identified as the most in demand advertised generic skill in the Sports and Recreation Activities industry (excluding Horse and Dog Racing Activities).

According to job vacancy data the most advertised occupations were for Fitness Instructors followed by Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials.

Noted in the 2018 Skills Forecast for the Sport and Recreation industry, increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to Australia’s rising obesity rates. As people are living longer there are many who are living with chronic conditions, and this contributes to the need to think differently about the role of sport, fitness and recreation in promoting physical health. More than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese in OECD countries. With this, physical literacy levels are declining, which means more people are not developing the skills necessary to live healthy, active lives and participate in sports.

To combat this, demand for services targeting specific demographic groups such as older people, youth and people with health issues has led to an increased range of services designed for specific population groupings, both in Australia and internationally.

The Sport and Recreation IRC's 2017 Skills Forecast reported that the prevalence of fatal drownings in Australia continues to cause concern industry-wide. Young children particularly within culturally and linguistically diverse communities are at higher risk and the industry is of the opinion that swimming and water safety should also be part of the Australian national school curriculum to help reduce drownings. Making swimming lessons mandatory for all children would increase the need for Swimming Teachers nationally.

The Environmental Scan 2015: Sport Fitness and Recreation identifies integrated sport and recreation facilities as the future of the Aquatic and Community Recreation sector. Facilities would offer a diverse range of services to entice greater community participation such as health and fitness, beauty services and physiotherapy. This variety of services would require a multi-skilled workforce with staff that can work across different job functions.

The Environmental Scan reports that there is a demand for skills in the following areas of the Aquatic and Community Recreation sector:

  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing and Business Management.

The Aquatic and Community Recreation sector also has difficulty in attracting workers in regional and remote areas. This may be due to higher wages on offer in other industries that operate in rural areas such as Mining.

In addition to the key national reports and strategies discussed above, there are a number of jurisdictional and regional reports and plans which relate to the Aquatic and Community Recreation sector in specific states, territories and regional areas. These reports are available on the websites listed in the Links and sources section below.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industries, employment projections to May 2023
    • 911 Sports and Physical Recreation Activities
    • 913 Amusement and Other Recreation Activities.
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 4523 Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials
    • 4521 Fitness Instructors
    • 4524 Sportspersons
    • 1491 Amusement, Fitness and Sports Centre Managers
    • 3623 Greenkeepers
    • 5421 Receptionists
    • 6211 Sales Assistants (General)
    • 4522 Outdoor Adventure Guides.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industries, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 911 Sports and Physical Recreation Activities
    • 913 Amusement and Other Recreation Activities.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by:
    • 910 Sports and Recreation Activities, nfd
    • 911 Sports and Physical Recreation Activities
    • 913 Amusement and Other Recreation Activities
    • 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET students and courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • SIS - Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package
    • SIS20110 - Certificate II in Community Activities
    • SIS20113 - Certificate II in Community Activities
    • SIS30110 - Certificate III in Aquatics
    • SIS30113 - Certificate III in Aquatics
    • SIS30210 - Certificate III in Community Activity Programs
    • SIS30213 - Certificate III in Community Activity Programs
    • SIS31015 - Certificate III in Aquatics and Community Recreation
    • SIS40110 - Certificate IV in Community Recreation
    • SIS40113 - Certificate IV in Community Recreation
    • SIS50110 - Diploma of Facility Management.
  • SRC - Community Recreation Industry Training Package (Superseded by SIS)
    • SRC10206 - Certificate I in Community Recreation
    • SRC20201 - Certificate II in Community Recreation
    • SRC20204 - Certificate II in Community Recreation
    • SRC20206 - Certificate II in Community Recreation
    • SRC30206 - Certificate III in Community Recreation
    • SRC40206 - Certificate IV in Community Recreation
    • SRC30201 - Certificate III in Community Recreation
    • SRC30204 - Certificate III in Community Recreation
    • SRC30301 - Certificate III in Community Recreation (Instruct)
    • SRC40201 - Certificate IV in Community Recreation
    • SRC40204 - Certificate IV in Community Recreation.

Superseded qualifications and training packages are grouped with current training products. 

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2107 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training.  Location data uses student residence.   Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality. 

SIS Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Sport and Recreation IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <https://www.burning-glass.com>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Community and Personal Service Workers
    • Managers
    • Clerical and Administrative Workers
    • 9111 Health and Fitness Centres and Gymnasia Operation
    • 9112 Sport and Physical Recreation Clubs and Sports Professionals  
    • 9113 Sports and Physical Recreation Venues, Grounds and Facilities Operation  
    • 9114 Sport and Physical Recreation Administrative Service  
    • 9131 Amusement Parks and Centres Operation  
    • 9139 Amusement and Other Recreation Activities n.e.c.
  • Employers
    • 4521 Fitness Instructors  
    • 4523 Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials  
    • 5412 Information Officers
    • 1311 Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers  
    • 4319 Other Hospitality Workers  
    • 9111 Health and Fitness Centres and Gymnasia Operation  
    • 9112 Sport and Physical Recreation Clubs and Sports Professionals  
    • 9113 Sports and Physical Recreation Venues, Grounds and Facilities Operation  
    • 9114 Sport and Physical Recreation Administrative Service  
    • 9131 Amusement Parks and Centres Operation
    • 9139 Amusement and Other Recreation Activities n.e.c.
Updated: 21 Dec 2018
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