Skip to main content Skip to navigation


There are 27,000 employees in the Welsh active leisure, learning and well-being sector, accounting for 5% of UK sector employment and 2.1% of all UK employment. 46% of jobs in the sector are part-time, compared to 26% across Wales. 90% of the sector are employees and 10% are self-employed. The largest industry in the sector is sport and recreation employing 56% of employment in the Welsh sector.

Employment levels in the sector are forecast to increase. The sector will need to recruit 3,710 to cope with replacement demands over the next 5 years. The sector attracts the highest number of volunteers. Over the last 2 years, the level of volunteers has increased by 6%. Employment levels are expected to increase by 1.6% per annum over the next five year.

74% of workplaces in the sector have less than 10 employees.

The gross value added (GVA) output of the sector equalled £400 million in 2004, which accounts for 5% of the total UK GVA. 37% of establishments in the sector have reported increased turnover. The average rate of growth of the sector has been 3.8%.

Personal service (22.4%), professional (13.3%), associate professional and technical (15.6%) occupations are more important within the Wales active leisure, learning and well-being sector than in the whole Welsh workforce. Secretarial and related occupations are slightly over represented within the workforce. The largest growth will be seen in the number of personal service occupations. Within the administrative group, there will also be an increase in the number of financial administrators at an average annual rate of 2.4% over the next ten years. The number of teaching professionals will decrease between 2009 and 2014.

The distribution of qualification levels held by the sector workforce in Wales is similar to that of the whole Welsh economy:

  • 32% of the sector workforce is qualified to Level 4 and above, compared to 28% across whole Welsh economy
  • 30% have no or low level qualifications, compared to 32%
  • playwork is the most well qualified industry as 46% of workforce have Level 4 or 5 qualifications
  • 37% of the workforce in caravans have no qualifications

Sector-specific qualifications are believed to be in short-supply, but are required by the sector for regulatory and licensing purposes. The number of workers at Level 2 and Level 3 categories will rise by 9%.

Skills shortages are reported for customer handling, team working, technical and practical, plus communication skills. Future skill requirements will be for team working and customer handling skills service, but technical and practical, together with communication skills will need improving. There is also a greater deficiency for Welsh language skills in the sector than the whole Welsh economy.

Key drivers in the Welsh sector include:

  • an increased health awareness
  • ageing population with time looking for more low impact activities
  • impact of globalisation and technology
  • government policy and regulatory framework aimed at encouraging participation in active leisure activities

Source: Wales Sector Skills Agreement 2006 and Skills Needs Assessment – Wales 2005