Transformational Leadership Programme

The Transformational Leadership Programme has been designed to equip the GM Active workforce with the skills needed to better support their communities through training that empowers them to share knowledge and innovate.

Transformational Leadership Programme

The Transformational Leadership Programme has been designed to equip the GM Active workforce with the skills needed to better support their communities through training that empowers them to share knowledge and innovate.

The Opportunity

Covid-19 accelerated a change in the perception of the fitness industry, broadening the scope to support those for whom health is a priority. With the link between physical activity and management of chronic and complex medical conditions firmly established, providers like GM Active are key to improving the health of the nation. To engage and support older individuals and/or those with chronic disease workforce training is required to support behaviour change, particularly amongst those with underlying health conditions.

GM Moving and GreaterSport set a target of 75% of adults in Greater Manchester being physically active by 2025 (up from 27%) and to reach the goal, staff training was essential.

The Solution

Future Fit for Business developed the GM Active Skills and Training Academy to equip all 3,600 of GM Active’s employees with the skills to identify and support the needs of their customers. By providing scalable, high-quality online learning GM Active could engage staff and volunteers and develop their understanding of key areas in a way that could be monitored and evaluated easily.

Training was tailored to the requirements of GM Active and structured so that the learning was appropriate for different roles within the workforce. This bespoke approach ensured that the training would enable a transformation in the culture, knowledge, and behaviours of staff to address the challenges of inactivity in the region. Building upon the Public Health England ‘Making Every Contact Count’ (MECC) behaviour change programme, customised content included:

  • Understanding the positive and negative impacts of the various factors that influence health, and engaging people in healthy conversations on the five core topics: stopping smoking, physical activity, reducing alcohol consumption, weight management, and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Understanding what is meant by mental health, behaviour change and resilience, and how they fit into the current UK health landscape.
  • Practical aspects of mental health first aid, conducting motivational consultations and developing resilience across the life-course.
  • Continued professional development to support people with, or at risk of, long-term health conditions (LTHC) concentrating on Covid-19 rehabilitation, Common musculoskeletal conditions, and Exercise for cancer.

The main objectives were to empower employees to feel they could affect behaviour change and make a difference to individuals and communities through participation in physical activity. This upskilling would improve job satisfaction and overall staff retention. Increasing the knowledge of their workforce would also prepare GM Active for the future – for when there is increased demand for referrals for specialist services, particularly for those with LTHC.


The Result.

Learners indicated that they had gained an increased level of knowledge and confidence across all courses upon completion. Even in areas of relative competence, staff believed they had gained a significant amount of proficiency. The online learning provision was praised by leaners, stating that “they are quite easy to follow, they’re split down into modules so you can do them in little chunks when you’ve got time… they have little tasks at the end so you can check your understanding”. Learners also found that they helped to cement the organisational aims of GM Active; “I think you can develop your skills and use them every day, it`s useful for new staff coming on board, to give them an idea of what standards are needed for the job.”

Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and the restrictions placed on gyms, the online format meant that training could still be delivered – consequently, staff were able to return to work confident in their ability to assist service users.


"“Our leadership programme will bolster the knowledge and understanding of our staff to meet the demands of their roles and the changing needs of our communities. They will have the skills and knowledge to ensure their facilities and services are part of the whole system approach and contributing to the sector’s pivot from leisure to wellness.”"

Andy King
Chair, GM Active CIC

About GM Active

GM Active has grown from a collective of 12 leisure and community organisations working together to improve services, deliver and co-produce the best, most cost-effective solutions to meet local needs. GM Active manage the majority of the publicly owned leisure and physical activity assets on behalf of 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester. As an organisation they pride themselves on putting their communities and their people at the heart of everything they do. The training academy is being supported by GreaterSport and made possible with investment from the National Lottery, through the Local Pilot in Greater Manchester with Sport England, and delivered in partnership with the training provider, Future Fit Training.