Sport plays an important role in Queensland’s society and complements other industry sectors such as tourism, retail and hospitality.



The sport sector is defined by the competitive nature of the activity. A range of organisations provide services and facilities for individuals and groups, who participate under formal rules and are organised within institutions like football and athletics clubs.

Not-for-profit clubs, and associations managed by state or local government, also run sports activities including local fixtures.

Sport study and training can lead to employment in recreation centres, sporting associations and resorts. However, the volunteer nature of the sector means that jobs are generally on a part time or casual basis.


Sector profile

Under the ANZSCO ABS classifications, occupations in the sport sector include Swimming Coach/Instructor, Sports Centre Manager, Lifeguard, Gymnastics Coach/Instructor, Tennis Coach, Sports Administrator, Sports Umpire, Sports Development Officer, Sportspersons, Other Sports Official, and other Sports Coaches and Instructors.

As at November 2012, Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials employment in Queensland had increased by 13.3 percent in the last year compared to 4.4 percent nationally. Queensland has a 24.3 percent share of the national employment of Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials (9,200 persons for Queensland).[1]

It is estimated other occupations outside this category account for another 2,500 employees in the sport sector.

Participation in sport

The following statistics on involvement in sport and physical activity are calculated using national data[ii] and applying Queensland’s 20 percent share of the national population:

  • For Queensland, in the twelve months ending April 2010, an estimated 900,000 people aged 15 years and over (26%) reported that they were involved in organised sport and physical activity. This included 760,000 people involved in playing roles (22% of persons aged 15 years and over), and 320,000 people involved in non-playing roles (9%). Of the 320,000 people with a non-playing role, 56% also had a playing role[i]
  • Of the 900,000 people involved in organised sport and physical activity, 9% received some type of payment for their involvement. People involved as a coach, instructor or teacher were more likely to receive some payment (27%) than people in a playing role (3%)[iv]
  • Of the 900,000 people involved in non-playing roles:

–          369,000 (41%) were involved as a coach, instructor or teacher

–          180,000 (20%) were involved as a referee or umpire

–          306,000 (34%) were involved as a committee member or administrator

–          279,000 (31%) were involved as a scorer or timekeeper

–          72,000 (8%) were involved as a provider of medical support

–          540,000 (60%) were associated with school or junior sport

–          261,000 (29%) had two or more non-playing roles

–          369,000 (41%) had completed a qualification relevant to their role[v]

  • Some 41% of people involved in non-playing roles reported that they had completed a course or qualification relevant to their role. Of the 23,600 people involved in a medical support role, 96% had completed a relevant course or qualification. This was a larger proportion than all other non-playing roles:

–          56% of coaches, instructors or teachers

–          49% of referees or umpires

–          16% of committee members or administrators

–          10% of scorers or timekeepers

–          13% of those involved in other non-playing roles[vi]

Value of sport to Queensland[vii]

  • $7.9 billion contribution of sport (or 3% of GSP) to the Queensland economy through direct and indirect economic activity
  • 11,763 direct jobs created by sport
  • 97,633 direct and indirect jobs created by sport
  • $1.6 billion in productivity benefits due to sport
  • $775 million in total health benefits (in 2007-2008)
  • 14,792 full time equivalent jobs provided by volunteers
  • $866 million per annum is the cost to replace Queensland’s volunteers in sport

The following information on occupational shortages, reasons for shortages, issues, and workforce responses is the result of the 2012 Skills Alliance Influence Your Industry’s Future workforce development survey.  This information has also been consolidated in the 2012-2013 Skills Report.

Sport occupational shortages 

  • Sport Coaches/Instructors/Officials
  • Sport Development Officers
  • Sport Administrators
  • Facility Managers
  • Swimming Instructors/Lifeguards
  • Volunteer Managers

Reasons for shortages

Overall the top 3 causes for gaps and shortages in the sector are[viii]: 

  1. Lack of Skills/Experience
  2. Lack of support
  3. Low wages/Training delivery issues

Key issues

Sport Coaches/Instructors/Officials 

Sports Coaches have been identified as an immediate occupational shortage.  The reasons for this shortage are complex and relate to access to training (particularly for regional organisations), and recognition of training outcomes given the variety of training offered across sports and state/national bodies.  Paid coaches are only one part of the workforce, with many coaches being volunteers, who generally require the same qualification as a paid coach.

The main issue relates to the range of sport coach training on offer, which can be confusing to some parts of the sector

  • Sport specific coach training that may be compulsory as determined by the national or state sports specific body – this training may or may not be included in the training package and may not be delivered by RTOs
  • Coach training offered through the Australian Sports Commission – this training may or may not have links to the training package and is delivered on line
  • Qualifications in sport coaching offered through User Choice (traineeships) and TAFE VRG
  • There are skill sets in coaching available in the training package
  • Skills Alliance offers a skill set through the Strategic Investment Fund (developed by Skills Alliance in consultation with industry, approved by the Queensland Government Department of Education Training and Employment for the Strategic Investment Fund only)

Other issues include:

  • Some of the generic coach training offered through training package is not readily recognised by the sport (general principles in coaching and officiating)
  • Clubs and organisations need funding for training
  • Lack of time to undertake training as coaches are often volunteers, and coaching is not their primary occupation
  • In some sports it is expected that volunteers pay for their own training
  • Costs and impacts of this issue are more significant for the smaller sports such as BMX

Sport Development Officers 

  • A key challenge for the sector is the Australian Government’s priority to increase “grassroots participation” which includes strategies to grow participation.  The focus in on key groups such as women, Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.  This means Sports Development Officers are increasingly tasked with implementing club development activities to up skill and improve the performance of clubs, in order to increase participation[ix]
  • This places a higher level of expectation on occupations such as Sport Development Officers who would need knowledge and skills to adapt programs to suit these groups.  Strategies are also needed to adapt and incorporate programs aimed at targeting key groups such as women, Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • These emerging trends place a need for development officers to have a higher skill level than currently required
  • Feedback from the sector also indicates that new graduates, while they possess the theoretical aspects of the role, lack practical on the job skills such as interpersonal and communication skills, project management, and negotiation skills

Sport Administrators 

  • There are reports of increasing insolvency rates among sport and recreation clubs. This occupation usually requires a level of business acumen as well as an understanding of the sport.  There is a need to support increased professionalism and improved management skills, including business planning, budgeting, human resources, leadership and governance
  • Poor wage levels
  • Need for increased professionalism to meet funding requirements
  • Many Sport Administrators are volunteers but clubs still need them to be well trained
  • Poor career pathways
  • Lack of recognition of skills outside of the sector

Facility Managers 

  • Critical shortage of (Aquatic) Facility Managers in rural and regional areas of Queensland
  • Within PCYC Qld all branches are managed by Queensland Police Service (QPS) sergeants, therefore limiting career progression for other non QPS employees.  This is only the case in Queensland, as in other states such organisations are managed by civilian recreation professionals
  • Loss of leisure courses at higher education level have left skills shortages around property management, small business management, marketing and more technical skills around water quality 

Swimming Instructors/Lifeguards

  • Shortage of qualified Swimming Instructors
  • Shortage of Lifeguards, particularly at pool and other aquatic and leisure complexes
  • Lack of Swimming Instructors and Lifeguards create a barrier to public participation.
  • Increased training in qualifications such as the Certificate III in Aquatics will drive participation and increase training demand
  • Attraction and recruitment issues for rural and regional Queensland, particularly around mining areas where high costs of living result in a highly transient workforce
  • For aquatic centres recruitment and employment is affected by seasonal change which affects patronage and staff volume.  This is the main cause of the churn.  E.g. aquatic centres and swimming pools are busiest between September and April when the need for Lifeguards is at its peak.  This also impacts on  increased costs around recruitment and affects consistency to train/recruit for the season

Volunteer Managers 

  • Critical occupational shortage identified through industry consultation
  • Attraction and retention of volunteers, particularly the younger generations
  • People are time poor and cite lack of time as a reason they are reluctant to volunteer
  • Within this industry, its often parents who volunteer to support their children’s involvement in sport and recreation activities
  • Volunteers need training to undertake their various roles
  • Support for volunteers is more than just training – they need mentoring and/or ongoing supervision[x]
  • Most Volunteer Managers (managers/coordinators of volunteers) are volunteers themselves
  • Funding is not available for training
  • Lack of recognition in industry of the skills required to manage volunteers as opposed to the view in other more developed volunteer utilising industries
  • High level qualification (Certificate IV) is a barrier
  • There may be a need for a skill set as a first step

Emerging trends 

The top two emerging trends impacting on sport organisations are social media and new skills required.

Social media and use of technology for sport and recreation clubs are two areas where a large number of clubs are lacking in knowledge and information.  Not only on how best to use them, but to use them at all in some instances.

In addition the changing demographics have meant the traditional membership base is ageing and clubs need to look at new ways to attract the younger generation. This is at the participation level as well as recruiting younger club volunteers.

Current responses

 In terms of what strategies sporting clubs have used to respond to these skills gaps, the top three responses were to:

  1. Seek funding or other grants from government
  2. Provide training
  3. Seek funding from Jupiter’s casino, Gambling or Breakwater Island Community Benefit Fund

Other responses included:

  • Sought funding from resource companies to provide avenues for learning for the community
  • Adapted programs e.g. to suit time poor parents such as shortening the game of cricket / new programs and changing playing conditions and rules
  • Used umbrella organisation with skills, ability and staff administrating several sporting competitions

Future strategies needed 

  • Many organisations indicated the need for funding to train volunteers is critical
  • Increased support and education programs for clubs and administrators
  • Access to flexible, local training opportunities – to eliminate time and costs associated with travel
  • Support for clubs to help them develop volunteers and staff capabilities, which will support the sport and even provide network of people from which the state organisation can call on
  • Encouraging and attracting young people to participate and volunteer in the sport


[1] ABS Labour Force Survey – Employment by Occupation Time Series for Queensland to November Quarter 2012

[ii] ABS6285.0 Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, April 2010

[iii] IBID

[iv] IBID

[v] IBID

[vi] IBID

[vii] The Value of Sport to Queensland, March 2012, prepared by PKF Corporate Advisory for QSport

[viii] Skills Alliance Influence Your Industry’s Future Survey, 2012-2013, March 2013

[ix] Sport Fitness and Recreation – 2013 Environmental Scan, DRAFT, Service Skills Australia

[x] Sport Fitness and Recreation – 2013 Environmental Scan, DRAFT, Service Skills Australia


Sport FAQ

Sport FAQ

Q: What is the best way to get a job in the sports industry?

A: Get involved in any way that you can.  Volunteer, work casual or part time, anything where you will be meeting people who can help you find a full time job.  Up to 60% of positions in the sports industry are filled by word of mouth.

Apply for a traineeship position is a further option, contact peak sporting organisations/associations to find out if they have a traineeship program/intake process.

Q: I want to be a coach – where do I start?

A: It is not hard to find a coaching job if you are really keen, but is may be hard to get paid for it.  Many clubs rely on volunteers.  Volunteering is the best way to gain experience, meet people and get a start in coaching.  If you have played for a local club ask if you can help out during training.  Coaching and working with kids can be a valuable experience and down the track may lead to a paid job.  Most coaching positions regardless of the sport will require at least a level one coaching accreditation.  Talk to the club about their processes, most clubs will cover the cost of any training you may be required to undertake.

Sport Jobs

Sport Jobs

Sport can be part of your career, whether you are a professional athlete, play for a club, coach, umpire or play for fun.  Being involved as a volunteer or paid worker in sport can give you a wide range of skills and experience.  Examples of sports specific positions include:

  • Coach
  • Umpire
  • Community Recreation
  • Events Manager
  • Greenkeeper
  • Sports Massage Therapist
  • Sports Administrator
  • Professional Sportsperson
  • Sports Physiologist
  • Sports Scientist
  • Sports Development Officer
  • Sports Official

Visiting the Myfuture website under the heading the Facts you can find out about the industry.  To find information on a specific job in the industry go to the Myfuture’s tab the Facts, Work and Employment/Occupation search.

Sport Courses

Sport Courses

These links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Skills Alliance of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organisation or individual. The Skills Alliance bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external sites for answers to questions regarding its content.

A list of all VET qualifications and registered training organisations  can be found on the Australian government training website.

Certificate I in Sport and Recreation

Certificate II in Sport and Recreation

Certificate II in Sport Coaching

Certificate II in Sport Career Oriented Participation

Certificate III in Sport Career Oriented Participation

Certificate III in Sport and Recreation

Certificate III in Sport Coaching

Certificate III in Sports Trainer

Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation

Certificate IV in Sport Coaching

Certificate IV in Sport Development

Diploma of Sport (Development)

Diploma of Sport Coaching

Diploma of Facility Management

Diploma of Sport & Recreation Administration

Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science

Bachelor of Psychological Science

Bachelor of Exercise and Movement Science / Bachelor of Behavioural Science – Psychology

Information Sessions (free)

Information Sessions (free)

No information sessions are running at the moment.

News and Articles

News and Articles

Volunteers in Sport – 25 November 2015 – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission

Junior Sport Framework – 10 November 2015 – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission

Market Segmentation – Parents – October 2015 – Australian Sports Commission

Sport Participation in Australia – 31 August 2015 – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 23 July 2015

Parkour popularity encourages Queensland councils to build dedicated parks – 31 August 2015, Jessica Hinchliffe and Terri Begley, ABC Grandstand Sport

Australian Sport Policy – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – August 2015

Community Sport Officiating – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 23 July 2015

Digital strategy is lacking in Australian sport — Alex Mednis, Sports Business Insider, 28 July 2015

Sports Club Development – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – July 2015

Sport for Community Development – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 18 June 2015

Go where women are: Insight on engaging women and girls in sport and exercise – Sport England, June 2015

School Sport – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 24 June 2015

Twelve Signs of A Good Youth Sports Program – Brooke De Lench – momsTEAM

Indigenous Australians and Sport – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – May 2015

Cultural Diversity and the Role of Sport – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – May 2015

Community Sport Coaching – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 15 May 2015

Childhood Obesity – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 15 May 2015

Engaging Parents in Sport – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 11 May 2015

Sporty technology – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – April 2015

Sport Workforce Development – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 13 April 2015

Structure of Australian Sport – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – April 2015

Economic Contribution of Sport – Chris Hume, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – April 2015

Getting involved: How do I recruit youth volunteers for my sport program? – SIRC Blog – 8 April 2015

Sport has the power to help develop the potential of individuals, communities and nations – Australasian Leisure Management – 6 April 2015

Sport for International Development – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 2 April 2015

Physical Activity Guidelines – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 1 April 2015

The value of sports volunteering transcends party politics – Join In – 25 March 2015

Play.Sport.Australia. new participation platform – AIS, Australian Sports Commission – 25 March 2015

The Top 20 sports played by Aussies young and old(er) – Roy Morgan Research – March 19 2015

Social Sport – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 19 March 2015

Yet another reason sport is good for you! – Roy Morgan Research – March 17 2015

What is Sport? – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – 5 March 2015

Women’s Sport – Ralph Richards, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission – 25 February 2015 by

Working towards equality and eliminating discrimination in sport – Australasian Leisure Management – 4 March 2015

Research reveals the social value of a football club – Australasian Leisure Management – 3 March 2015

How to Coach, According to 5 Great Sports Coaches – Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review – 25 February 2015

What will community sport clubs be like in 20 years? – Australasian Leisure Management – 24 February 2015

Australian youngsters ‘can’t throw, can’t catch’ – Australasian Leisure Management – 2 February 2015

Gold Coast reaps benefits from world’s largest biennial masters games – Australasian Leisure Management – 11 January 2015

New Sporting Schools website launched – Australian Sports Commission – 19 November 2014

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) launched the new Sporting Schools website today, as part of an initiative to help strengthen the connection between schools and sport so that all Australian children can get active and experience the joy of sport.

$1.6 million Federal Government investment in sporting innovation – Australasian Leisure Management – 19 November 2014

The Australian Institute of Sport’s Competitive Innovation Fund has allocated $1.6 million in funding for 11 different projects which encourage innovation and collaboration in high performance sport.

Strategic alliances in sport tourism: National sport organisations and sport tour operators – Millicent Kennelly, Kristine Toohey – Sport Management Review, Volume 17, Issue 4, November 2014

This qualitative case study provides a sport-oriented perspective of sport tourism. It examines a strategic alliance between an Australian national sport organisation (NSO), the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), and a sport tour operator (STO), FanFirm.

Australian sports injury 2011-12 – Australian Institute of Health Welfare – report released in November 2014.

Junior Sport Framework – Clearinghouse for Sport – 12 November 2014

Sport participation during childhood offers many immediate and long-term benefits, including: the formation of positive physical activity behaviours; development of life-skills; progress toward physical literacy; better cognitive and social functioning. Policies and strategies that promote enjoyable and challenging junior sport experiences will encourage greater participation as well as target personal and social development outcomes.

School Sport – Clearinghouse for Sport – 30 September 2014

The benefits of participation in school sport in terms of physical fitness, health benefits, cognitive development, personal wellbeing and social integration are extensively reported. Because school sport is so closely linked with physical education (PE) and other in-school physical activity opportunities, the observed benefits are often attributed to several sources. The collective contribution of school sport and PE to a child’s daily physical activity may be substantial.

Footy brawls put focus on security and alcohol management at community sports grounds – Australasian Leisure Management – 16 September 2014

Weekend brawls at local Australian football and rugby league grand finals in Queensland and Western Australia would appear to highlight a need for enhanced security and alcohol management at community sports grounds when emotions run high during local footy finals.

Cricket attracts more than a million participants – Australasian Leisure Management – 16 September 2014

With the growing range of programs and opportunities to make the game accessible to players of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds, cricket has established itself as Australia’s number one participation sport.

Global index shows slight rise in women in sport leadership roles – Australasian Leisure Management – 15 September 2014

The latest update to the Sydney Scoreboard, a global index for women in sport leadership, shows a slight increase in the 2014 proportion of women representation in sport’s leadership positions compared to 2010.

More people joining triathalon groups in Australia – Australasian Leisure Management – 13 September 2014

This week’s announcement that Australia will once again host an event in the International Triathlon Union’s World Triathlon Series, is seen as having huge significance for the sport at a time when its participation numbers are growing.

The challenge of growing youth participation in sport – Sport England – August 2014

Sport Participation in Australia – Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, NSIC/Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission – August 2014

There is now compelling evidence that increased levels of physical activity can bring wide-ranging health benefits that impact upon the population. These benefits can extend beyond physical health to include other benefits, such as mental health, personal wellbeing, and social cohesion. Sport can make an important contribution to the amount of regular physical activity an individual engages in.

Beyond Glasgow, Gold Coast can transform the Commonwealth Games – Australasian Leisure Management – 25 August 2014

Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan has claimed that the Gold Coast will “make” the Commonwealth Games and boost its future when it hosts the Games in 2018.

Volunteers the backbone of Australian sport – Australasian Leisure Management – 21 August 2014

A new study confirms that Australia’s 2.3 million sporting volunteers are the backbone of Australian sporting organisations, highlighting that sport would be unable to function or even exist without them.

Sport England launches new model to show the economic value of sport to local communities – Sport England – 1 August 2014

All local authorities in England can now show how sport benefits their economy thanks to a new modelling tool launched by Sport England

What business and sport can learn from each other – Leap Performance – July 2014

There are some things sport does better than business and other areas in which business excels. Elite performing teams adopt the best from both worlds whether in sport or business. Here are a few key points about what business and sport can learn from each other.

In picking winners, sport funding rules can fail people with disabilities – The Conversation – 16 July 2014

The Australian Sports Commission has announced the funding of national sport organisations and individual sports for 2014-15. Overall Olympic funding enjoyed an increase of about A$750,000. Paralympic sport suffered a $250,000 decrease.

Present and Future Impacts of Nanotechnology in Sports – sporttechie – 15 July 2014

How will nanotechnology boost athlete performance?

Ever wanted to walk on water? Five new aquatic sports for thrill seekers – theguardian – 15 July 2014

From jet powered hover boards to inflatable catapults, we take a look at five bizarre new watersports that send you flying.

Getting engagement beyond game day: how sports organisations should do it – Business Review Weekly – 31 March 2014

Sporting organisations, ranging from clubs to high profile teams and venues, are undergoing rapid evolution and pressure to change the way they do things.

Community Sport Coaching – Australian Sports Commission – 4 July 2014

The effective delivery of community sport programs relies upon the recruitment, engagement, and ongoing development of coaches. Coaches play a central role in organising sports participants, teaching sports skills and strategies, as well as improving athlete fitness and motivation to train and compete.

WHY SPORT MATTERS: Sport for development in Australia, the Pacific and Asia – Sport Matters – 18 June 2014

Features case studies from a host of Australian organisations using sport to contribute to outcomes in health, gender equality, social inclusion, children & youth, and people with disabilities. It also includes the latest sport for development research from the Pacific.

Call for government action to limit ‘deeply concerning’ level of fast food ads at children’s sports grounds – ABC News – 10 June 2014

Children who take part in rugby league, athletics or cricket are exposed to high levels of fast food and sugary drink advertising in New South Wales, a new study shows.

Is sport more safe, fair and inclusive than it used to be?  – 7 June 2014

Sport has a unique place in our culture and brings out the best and worst in people. Peter Downs explains how the national program Play by the Rules helps in making sport more safe, fair and inclusive.

#ProudToPlay: Celebrating equality for all athletes – 3 June 2014

Support a world where every athlete can be Proud to Play.

Mums in sport: who’s left holding the baby? – Anna Carroll, The Brisbane Times – 10 May 2014

We must address the normal experience of women being pregnant and caring for children in the abnormal environment of sport.