In a first of its kind piece of research, Sport Wales has given college students in Wales a voice to shine a light on the sport and physical activity habits of teenagers and young adults.
The pioneering survey provides important insight into how best to support more teens and adults to becoming more physically active and healthier.
Almost half (49%) of college students are hooked on sport according to Sport Wales’ first official* survey of Further Education institutions in Wales.
The figures, launched today, come a few weeks after Sport Wales released the results of its third, official survey of school sport. Those results showed a similar hooked figure of 48% for school children, which means that almost one in two school children in Wales take part in sport three or more times a week.
Over 4,500 students aged 16 and over had their say on what gets them active. As with this year’s School Sport Survey, important factors such as enjoyment, confidence and feeling engaged and listened to all come through as strong motivators for being hooked on sport. However, while there are similar trends between the School Sport Survey and FE Survey, the stubborn participation gap between girls and boys increases in college students, as does the gap between those with a disability and those without.
The survey revealed:
- 49% of students are hooked on sport – that’s a percentage point increase on the number of school children hooked (48%)
- Well over half of boys (59%) are reported to be hooked on sport, compared to 52% at school level
- The number of girls hooked drops to 40% when compared to girls at school level (44%)
83% of students would like to do more sport.
- Almost a third (32%) of college students with a disability or impairment are hooked on sport compared to 51% without – that’s lower than the ‘hooked’ figure for school children with a disability (40%)
- More than one in five students (23%) volunteer in sport.
While the survey shows 60% are likely to be hooked on sport if their ideas are always listened to, only 10% of those surveyed believed their ideas are considered when planning sport.
The survey also found 43% enjoyed sport a lot at a leisure centre or club, however 32% of those yet to be hooked on sport would like to do more outdoor activity. Taking part with friends was listed as a motivator for being more active, as was getting fit.
Commenting on the figures, Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: “It’s encouraging to see the numbers of those hooked on sport in further education up there with the growing numbers of those hooked at school level. However, it’s clear that there’s still much to do to ensure we don’t stall the positive momentum achieved at school level. We have long been aware of a drop off in participation following school for girls and these results provide us with further evidence of the work we need to collectively do.
“We need to look at how we can create an experience of sport and physical activity that is enjoyable, builds confidence and engages the student in the delivery of the activity. With 83% of students saying they would like to do more sport we have to look at how we effectively create an attractive offer for all students, not just those already engaged through sport related studies. This highlights how important it will be for colleges to work with community sport providers to create an offer that engages those who have not chosen to study sport.
“With this survey we have now got information that fills the gap between our school and adults surveys and we can better track the route from schools into FE and the community. It also gives a raft of data to be able to plan and provide the sport young people want.”
In addition, over the last year, all colleges in Wales are developing student management teams that engage and give a voice to the wider student population in terms of sporting choices. Two established student management teams that are showing the way are Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Gwent’s Cross Keys Campus, which are helping to get under-represented groups of students more active.
Chair of ColegauCymru, Judith Evans, said: “The results of this survey gives colleges extremely valuable information on the types of activities their students would like to see provided at college.
Colleges are listening, and are keen to respond to their students’ sporting choices. The student management teams being established in colleges will help to make sure that, along with this survey, they know the types of sporting activity their students are interested in.
“The survey has shown that college students are fantastic facilitators of sports in their local communities. The task now is to look inwards – at the colleges’ community of students. We need to deliver new activities that enable students to be more physically active within their college.
“Working in partnership with Sport Wales, college projects now in place are planning to attract 2,000 more girls to participate in sport and physical activity in college in this academic year. I’m confident that, with sustained investment in college sporting opportunities, we can respond to the needs of girls and other under-represented groups that have been identified by the survey.”
For a copy of the full report, please visit www.sport.wales.
Notes to editors
*Sport Wales is named as a producer of Official Statistics in The Official Statistics (Wales) Order 2013.
• The 2015 School Sport Survey can be accessed herehttp://sport.wales/research–policy/surveys-and-statistics/school-sport-survey.aspx
• Overall, 4,568 students from 12 Further Education Colleges in Wales – 92.3% of all eligible colleges in Wales – took part in the survey. The focus was on those between the ages of 16 and 19 years old and in full time education. However, the survey was open to any FE student studying in a further education college in Wales.