How to become a Sports Development Officer. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Sports Development Manager do?
Sports development officers (SDOs) aim to improve access to sport and physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. They organise projects, programmes, information and training to encourage people to increase their activity and have a healthier lifestyle.
As a sports development officer you could be involved in:
- working with local communities to identify the need and demand for new activities
- improving access to sport for young people, people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged communities
- supporting initiatives to reduce crime and rehabilitate offenders.
Your day-to-day tasks would include:
- making sure resources are used and all available funding is accessed
- putting local and national policies into practice
- identifying opportunities for funding
- organising, promoting and running projects and activities
- monitoring and evaluating projects
- attending meetings, seminars and conferences
- finding and training suitable staff, coaches and volunteers for projects
- managing resources and budgets.
You could also sometimes coach or supervise the sports for which you are qualified.
You could promote sport in general, working for a County Sports Partnership or local authority, or concentrate on a specific sport, working for a national governing body (NGB) as a sports specific development officer (SSDO).
Your working hours may vary from week to week, sometimes including unsocial hours to cover times when most people are able to take part in leisure activities.
You would have an office base for carrying out the administrative parts of the job, but would also visit community groups, schools, events and sports venues, and attend meetings, sometimes in the evenings or at weekends.
How much does a Sports Development Manager earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Salaries can range from £23,000 to £37,000 a year.
- Managers can earn up to £55,000.
Figures are only intended as a guideline.
Many sports development officers have a degree or equivalent, often in subjects such as sports development, sports coaching, sports science or recreation/leisure management. However, this may not be essential if you are able to show that you have relevant experience.
Whether you have a degree or not, it is important to be able to demonstrate practical commitment, so you should gain as much experience as possible by getting involved (perhaps as a volunteer) in activities such as:
- community and holiday sports schemes.
It would be useful if you have a background in coaching – sports development officers are often qualified to coach a number of different sports or activities. You may be able to gain coaching qualifications as part of a degree or BTEC HNC/HND. See the Sports Coach and Football Coach profiles for more information.
Training and Development
Once you are working in sports development, you can keep your knowledge up to date by joining the Institute for Sports, Parks and Leisure (ISPAL) continuing professional development programme. Visit the ISPAL website for details.
You may also find it useful to complete courses in subjects like marketing, finance and human resource management, which are important in most sports development jobs.
Skills and Knowledge
- enthusiasm about the benefits of sports and healthy living
- excellent communication skills
- leadership and organisational skills
- self motivation and the ability to motivate others
- project management skills
- flexibility and adaptability
- good IT and administrative skills.
You could be employed by organisations such as local authorities, youth organisations, NGBs, Sports Councils and universities.
Some jobs may only be funded for a limited time, which would mean you would have a short fixed-term contract.
With experience you could progress to a senior position, but this is likely to involve relocating.