Skills Group apprentices climbing to new Heights

Skills Group Sport & Leisure students have been awarded £432 from Sportivate to try out new sporting activities, and have chosen climbing at the Life Centre in Plymouth.

On Wednesday 7 October, 13 Skills Group students attended their first climbing session, something none of the learners had ever tried before. This is the first of five weekly sessions, during which the students will receive professional rock climbing instruction. The aim is that they will all develop confidence, competence and a lifelong interest in rock climbing.

Sportivate is a £56million National Lottery funded initiative that is part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy. It aims to give more young people the chance to discover a sport they will love. The funding is distributed via Sport England, a national organisation that is committed to helping people and communities ‘create sporting habits for life’. In Plymouth, Sport England work with Plymouth City Council’s Sports Development Unit to reach as many young people as possible.

Georgia Finch, a Skills Group sport and leisure student, said: “The Skills Group course has involved lots of different sporting activities, helping us to decide what we’d like to specialise in. I’ve been abseiling before but not tried climbing. It was brilliant!

“The facilities at the High Sports centre are really good – there’s a 16 metre climbing wall and a bouldering wall where you get to hang upside down and when you fall there’s a nice soft landing!

“I’ve always been into football – and played for Morley Rangers from when I was 7, but now I love the gym. I’m always up here using the Life Centre gym, and I’m planning to train as a personal trainer.”

Skills Group Sport & Leisure trainer, Dave Shurmer, said: “Skills Group has been working closely with the Council’s Sports Development Unit, looking at how we can support their participation programmes. The Sportivate funding is enabling us to open up a new activity to our own students, using a specialist facility in the city.

“These students are embarking on a career in the sport and leisure industry, and the Skills Group full-time programme is preparing them for employment in this exciting sector. I am very grateful to the Council and Sportivate for this opportunity to broaden the range of sports they could go on to coach in the future.”

Skills Group offers full-time programmes which are designed to prepare young people to support them into employment in beauty, child care, construction, engineering, hairdressing, and sport and leisure. The company also delivers apprenticeships in business administration, care and early years, construction, engineering and automotive, hairdressing, sport and leisure, and teaching and education. The training provider currently has over 180 vacancies across Devon and Cornwall, which can be seen on its dedicated recruitment website,


1. Skills Group student Georgia Finch tackling the bouldering wall at Plymouth’s High Sports.
2. Ross Northern-Evans belaying for Brandon Wagg at Plymouth’s High Sports.*

About Us

Skills Group has over 20 years’ experience in delivering apprenticeships, working with top local employers to offer sustainable employment opportunities. We are one of the country's largest independent training providers, one of very few to be recognised as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, and in the top 5% nationally for our apprentice success rates.


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