Sports Development Officer

Job Description:

Sports development officers organise projects and training to encourage people to take part in sport and have a healthier lifestyle.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

In this role, you could:

  • find and train staff, coaches and volunteers for projects
  • promote and run projects and activities
  • monitor and evaluate projects
  • find funding, manage resources and budgets
  • put local and national policies into practice
  • attend meetings, seminars and conferences
  • coach or supervise sports activities


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses (creativity)
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • leadership skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Sports Development Officer, you should focus on developing a strong foundation in subjects related to sports, management, and community development. While there aren’t specific subjects required for this career, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial. Here’s a list of subjects and other considerations that can help you pursue a career in sports development:

  1. Physical Education (PE): PE can provide a fundamental understanding of sports and physical activity, which is essential for a career in sports development.
  2. Business Studies: Learning the basics of business and management can be beneficial for roles that involve organising sports programs, events, and community initiatives.
  3. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for budgeting, financial planning, and data analysis, which are common aspects of sports development.
  4. English: Good communication skills, including writing and speaking, are important for creating and promoting sports programs and engaging with the community.
  5. Geography: An understanding of geographical concepts can be helpful for planning sports facilities and understanding local demographics.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency with computer software and online tools can be useful for managing and promoting sports programs.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You’ll find it useful to have a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a related subject like:

  • sports development or management
  • sports coaching
  • sports science
  • leisure studies

It’s important to get work experience in community sport during your studies as most employers expect this. Talk to your university careers service for help and advice on finding internship, year placement and volunteering opportunities.


You could take a course in college to give you some of the skills and knowledge to start out as a trainee in this role. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Qualification in Community Sports Leadership
  • Certificate in Sports Development


You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a community sport and health officer.

This typically takes around 16 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and study with a college or training provider.

Employers will set their own entry requirements.


You can get useful experience by playing sports, volunteering as a coach, helping out on community and holiday sports schemes, or working with a local sports club.

This can help to build up your skills and confidence and may lead to getting professional coaching qualifications.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got some of the relevant skills and knowledge needed for this role, for example through coaching qualifications.

Career tips

There’s a lot of competition for jobs, so getting work experience and making contacts through networking will give you more chance of finding work.

Having experience of playing or coaching a range of sports can also be useful.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 36-38 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends attending events or appointments.

You could work in an office, at a school, on a sports field, at a fitness centre or at a college. Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a sports development manager or a regional manager.

You may be able to move into policy development or work as a consultant on a freelance basis.