Future Fit: Proud to be helping GM Active operate beyond the cutting edge

Transformational leaders, continuous professional development and digital staff induction – the impact of our strategic business partner Future Fit runs deep throughout GM Active.

Future Fit’s Group Operations Director, Tom Godwin, was joined by two of his team, Lewis Thompson, Business Development Manager, and Amy Sabin, Marketing Executive, to discuss the partnership and how the work being done here in Greater Manchester is beyond cutting edge and priceless for the nation.

Here is their collective thoughts….

What GM Active is achieving in Greater Manchester is seen nationally as an exemplar of working towards a common goal of getting the community healthier and more active. 

The impact this can have is very exciting, and seeing what is going on, we want to do whatever we can to support it.

We’ve worked with some of the key figures in GM Active for a long time, such as (Chair) Andy King and John Oxley, Chief Executive at Life Leisure. 

Effectively, what we do is offer workforce training, we develop qualifications, we develop learning for people. So, for example, transformational leadership didn’t exist, we created it with John Oxley for GM Active and now the Transformational Leadership Programme is a national product. 

One of the big things in our industry that we haven’t always had is collaboration. What we’ve learned off the back of GM Active is the more we speak to each other, the more we learn and that can only result in a greater impact on the good that we can do for the communities around the UK.

When we travel around the country and speak to other operators, we are constantly asked ‘how do GM Active do it?’, or ‘what does GM Active do?’. 

GM Active is a step ahead and people are trying to learn from what’s going on here. We’re proud to play our part.

What has Future Fit brought to GM Active in your opinion?

A lot! We have the aforementioned Transformational Leadership Programme (TLP) and so far that’s trained 80 transformational leaders across the GM ecosystem, who are all having a huge impact. 

We’re going to continue TLP over the coming years and train about 40 would-be leaders a year going forwards. 

We’ve then got the GM Active skills academy with training around behaviour change and working with people with cancer, who get the support they need from the Prehab4Cancer programme. 

There’s material on empathy, emotional resilience, and mental health in a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) hub that’s available to anyone that works in the space to ensure they are geared up and ready to move towards the pivot with a full understanding of what it’s all about. 

The third strand we’ve worked on with GM Active has been staff induction. We have developed a very detailed induction and the idea behind it is to make sure that everyone buys in and understands what the mission is and the role they play in the wider system. 

We’re now planning a set of qualifications around management and leadership. So, TLP is more about systems thinking, transformative leadership, whereas we’re developing introductory skills to being a team leader. 

It’s about leading people, communication, budgets, the basics of marketing – all those things that people operating in the duty manager up to general manager space might need to become better at their job. All of it is set and framed within the pivot.

One of the things we’re tackling is helping the GM Active workforce, which is predominantly made up of young people, deal with older customers. Some trusts have noticed the gap and a disconnect.

It really emphasizes the importance of our partnership with GM active. They have identified this gap, this demographic they’re not reaching, and we can provide the training needed. For example, older adults, people with long term health conditions, these are all people that it is essential to reach with the pivot to active wellbeing, and that’s what we’re able to facilitate.

What more can Future Fit bring to GM Active?

Firstly, we want to remain a part of the GM Active support mechanism, doing what’s right for the future so GM Active can keep moving forward and doing the fantastic work it does.

This is quite a difficult question in that every single partner, every single community, is different.

It’s hard to know what else is needed, but if it’s in our field of expertise we want to provide the right education, the right focus to help them support the needs they have in that particular community.

What can GM Active do for Future Fit?

Keep doing the good work it is doing, it’s as simple as that!

It’s important for us though that GM Active demonstrates the importance of learning and the impact it has on employees.

As a sector, we struggle with staff retention. A lot of that is down to the perception of the work they do, but by upskilling staff with extra training, so they can reach specific populations, it can make them feel more valued as part of the wider public health workforce and not just someone who works in a leisure centre.

And GM Active should keep challenging us. We’ve spoken about the different needs and focuses of different communities, and if there’s a specific problem, ask us to help to fix it. We can all keep moving in the same direction, even though there could be different processes as it’s never going to be the same everywhere.

If you want to know more about Future Fit, you can find their website here.

Interested in working with us?

We are actively seeking new partners, opportunities for collaboration and innovative ways of working.  We can’t do this alone. If our plans, purpose and intent chime with you, please do connect with us and be part of our transformational movement.