The 2022 ukactive awards saw the physical activity sector reunite for the first time since 2019 last night (30 June), with STA proudly winning the title of Education Provider of the Year, and being Highly Commended in the Supplier of the Year category.
The statement from ukactive read: “The STA won the Education Provider of the Year, with the judges praising its investment in the industry, innovative qualifications, and impactful resources which have been accessed widely.”
On receiving the Education Provider of the Year award, Dave Candler, STA’s CEO, and who last year won ukactive’s Outstanding Leader of the Year award, said he was incredibly honoured and proud of his team for winning this coveted award.
He said: “It goes without saying that the last two years have been incredibly difficult for the leisure industry, but throughout we were committed to supporting the whole of the aquatics industry – and we continue to be with our own charity investment in STAnd Up for Swimming this year, which we know is already starting to make a huge impact.”
“Thank you for this award ukactive; everything we do at STA is a team effort, and this award recognises all their hard work in delivering educational excellence in aquatics. It is also very special to win this award in our 90th anniversary year,” added Dave.
Kaylë Brightwell, STA’s Head of Qualifications, joined in the celebrations and said: “We believe to develop qualifications you need to understand the diverse nature of aquatics, and as a team, we use our real-life experiences of working in leisure to create, adapt and deliver qualifications that serve the needs of employers / learners – for us, it’s no longer just about serving a leisure centre and its 25-metre pool. And, in the same way the public/private swim-school market industry has evolved, so has our portfolio of CIMSPA-approved qualifications.”
“Being able to adapt quickly is also a key strength of us employing in-house experts – especially the last 2-years, to offer affordable blended, face-to-face and virtual training opportunities,” said Kaylë.
Zoe Cooper, STA’s Commercial Director, agreed and said: “You could in fact say STA first broke the mould in swimming teaching more than 30-years ago, by moving away from assistant-teacher qualifications in recognition that swim-schools needed staff to teach lessons rather than act as an assistant – and this is equally prevalent today with the teacher shortages. Today, STA remains the only Awarding Organisation to offer two Level 2 swimming teaching qualifications.”
“We also ripped up the rule book in lifesaving a couple of years ago, by aligning our lifeguard qualifications with first-aid revalidations,” added Zoe. “This shows we are not afraid of breaking the mould, if it’s what the industry and learners need.”
ukactive’s annual awards are the most prestigious within the physical activity sector and this year was the biggest to date, covering the entire sports and physical activity landscape—throughout the public, private and third sectors. The awards recognise facilities, suppliers, operators, educational institutes, health practitioners and large corporations that have demonstrated exceptional standards in driving forward the physical activity agenda.
Diversity and Inclusion
The ukactive awards were held at Birmingham’s ICC, and followed the Active Uprising Conference, where STA was proud to also support the Diversity and Inclusion discussions, with Zoe opening the breakout session and Kaylë sitting on the speaker’s panel.
Zoe said: “As a national governing body for swimming, we want to support the industry at this time of increased introspection, and today’s seminar at Active Uprising was another positive step forward in ensuring every single person, no matter age, ability or background is supported.”