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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 like community recreation facilities and community activity programs, and includes activities like sport, aquatics, personal development programs, rehabilitation programs and government initiatives.

The delivery of aquatic and community recreation activities are primarily facilitated by state and local governments and commercial leisure centres, other businesses involved in the delivery of these activities include community-focused organisations (e.g. Police Citizens Youth Club and Young Men’s Christian Association) and voluntary organisations (e.g. religious groups).

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.

The Aquatic and Community Recreation sector plays a vital role in health and wellbeing as collectively Australians participate in more than 130 million hours of vigorous exercise each year at public aquatic facilities. The sector is instrumental at improving future health outcomes and reducing health care expenditure at an estimated value of $2.35 billion annually.

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
  • Recreation leader.

Nationally recognised training for Aquatic and Community Recreation occupations 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 2019 Skills Forecast.

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 just over 1,650 program enrolments in aquatic and community sector qualifications during 2018 and close to 100 completions at this time. This represents a decrease of over 90% in both program enrolments and completions since 2015, when almost 22,120 enrolments and approximately 1,930 completions were recorded.

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 (84%) with the majority in aquatics with the intended occupations of Community Worker and Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials. The bulk of this training is provided by private training providers (66%) and community education providers (24%). Domestic fee-for-service funding is dominant for training provided by community education providers (92%) and private training providers (65%). Training is Commonwealth and state funded for all schools and enterprise providers, and 96% of TAFE institutes. Most students lived in Tasmania (22%), New South Wales (21%), Queensland (19%) and Victoria (15%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements peaked at approximately 1,430 in 2014 before declining significantly to around 50 in 2018. Completions peaked in 2015 but also declined in the years that followed, with a particularly notable decrease between 2016 (just under 540 students) and 2018 (less than 60 students). The only intended occupation in 2018 was Community Worker, and most apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in Victoria (87%).

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 visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET

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 2019 Skills Forecast, the following form the top priority skills required across the industry:

  • Teamwork and communication
  • Problem solving
  • Self management
  • Technical/Job specific skills.

Other skills and knowledge gaps identified included:

  • Online and social media
  • Marketing
  • Initiative and enterprise (i.e. small business management)
  • Sports Administration.

The following generic skills were also identified as highest priority for the Sport and Recreation industry:

  • Customer Service/Marketing
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • 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), followed by organisational skills, energetic, time management and detail orientated.

According to job vacancy data the most advertised occupations were for Fitness Instructors followed by Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials, and the top two employers are YMCA and Fitness First.

The Sport and Recreation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlights that workforce shortages currently exist for swimming teachers and aquatic centre managers, with the high demand for people to fill these roles expected into the future.

Another challenge facing the sector is access to these facilities in remote areas. As sporting and aquatic facilities are often provided by local councils, access can be limited due to restricted operating budgets. Solutions are required to overcome these challenges as the benefits of accessing these facilities are widely acknowledged and include improved health outcomes and provide culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities the opportunity to participate in the community, as well as offering an avenue for young people to pursue sporting interests.

In addition, current data suggests that children are leaving swimming programs prior to reaching the national benchmarks for swimming and water safety. Socio-economic factors appear to further impact the incidence of attending swimming lessons, with attendance from a younger age more likely amongst those from higher socio-economic areas as opposed to children from low socio-economic areas. The call to strengthen school, vacation and water safety programs in the community will further increase the need for quality swimming and water safety teachers.

Similar concerns were highlighted in the Sport and Recreation IRC’s 2017 Skills Forecast which 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.

According to the Sport and Recreation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, 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 are living sedentary or low activity lifestyles and four in five Australian children are not meeting the recommended activity guidelines.

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:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Sport and Recreation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 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: 01 Nov 2019
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