Training needs of recreation staff at recreation centres: Supervising area managers’ perspectives
A study in 2008 revealed that 44% of municipal sport and recreation facilities in South Africa were reported to be poorly maintained because of the lack of necessary skills and poorly trained staff. It seems that training could be a major contributor to solving this problem. The aim of this qualitative research was to determine the training needs of recreation staff as perceived by the supervising area managers within a South African city. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were individually conducted with supervising area managers (i.e. staff responsible for recreation, sport and aquatic facilities and programmes in a South African city) from a variety of backgrounds in a South African city (n=5). Two integrative categories emerged that accentuated the need for training of recreation staff at recreation centres in relation to the relevant literature. The first is related to the necessity of training opportunities for staff at recreation centres, whereas the second focussed on who is responsible for the funding of training opportunities. The results suggest that staff do not possess the basic recreation knowledge and that, in turn, may lead to unnecessary work pressure on the supervising area manager. In the local government, procedures are already in place that could help the staff if they needed funding for further training. Unfortunately, the available training, as stated by the participants, it is not necessarily applicable to the needs which the supervising area managers perceive to be important for their staff. By working with each specific centre’s staff problems and training needs, as well as with each individual employee’s competencies, short courses could be designed to specifically better equip the staff members with the necessary job-related skills and help evaluate where further training is needed.
Keywords: Recreation training, recreation centres, training needs