On 21 and 22 February 2018, the European Commission organised the first meeting of the new European Commission Expert Group on "Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport". Hosted by the University of Bath, this meeting was the first Expert Group organised by the Commission, in the field of sport, since the adoption of the Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020.
Adopted in May 2017, the Third EU Work Plan for Sport (2017-2020) invited the Commission to create two Expert Groups respectively on "Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport" and “Integrity”. Regulated by the ‘Horizontal rules for on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups’, adopted by the Commission in 2016, these Groups represent an opportunity for representatives of Members States to discuss potential added value of EU activities in the field of sport as well as exchange experiences and good practices. The European Commission also has the opportunity to involve sport organisations by inviting them as observer to the meetings. In Bath, the Olympic Movement was represented by the EOC EU Office.
Furthermore, with this meeting, the Commission had the chance to inaugurate the new working methods for Expert Groups. Indeed, contrary to the previous period, these Groups are not bound to deliverables already established in the Work Plan for Sport. The EOC EU Office welcomes the higher flexibility of the work of these groups – one of its key recommendation following the previous period –, which could lead to a better connection with sport movement’s needs and expectations.
These two days meeting were used to discuss four key topics: 1. Role of Coaches 2.Dual Careers, 3.Qualifications in sport and 4.Key Competences
On each topic, following general updates of the Commission and presentations of relevant projects or initiatives, a discussion on the upcoming activities of the group took place. The following decisions have been taken:
- Education of Coaches, as well as their role and competences, will be at the heart of the work of the Group. As suggested by the Estonian presidency in their Council Conclusions ,the Group will produce Guidelines regarding “the basic requirements in skills and competences for coaches”. The first step will be to make an overview of the different national coaching systems with a focus on 1. Qualification 2. Education 3. Statute
- Regarding Dual Careers and Qualifications, participants agreed that existing documents were still valid and that activities of the group will be limited to information regarding EU activities, exchange of good practices and presentation of relevant initiatives/ projects.
- On Key Competences, the Commission wanted to inform participants on the opportunity offer by the revised Council Recommendations on Key Competences for lifelong learning that directly mentioned grassroots sport as example of non-formal learning that should be recognised.
Finally, when discussing the next steps and upcoming meetings, the Commission announced that meetings will be connected as much as possible to visit of sport premises, in relation with the discussion of the Group. Indeed, participants could enjoyed the impressive sport infrastructures of Bath University, recognised for the quality of its Dual Career programme.
The next meeting of the group will be held in July 2018.