Case study

Upskilling the sporting workforce during the pandemic

How we enabled 18,000+ lockdown qualifications



Project type

App build

Completed in

September 2020

30,000 professionals planned to leave the sport and physical activity industry when the pandemic hit. To support the British public back into sport once COVID restrictions lifted, the activity workforce needed to be retrained, so thousands of people could stay in, or return to the sector stronger.



Our solution

We built an app that matched training providers with employers to support the workforce through downtime and return with more skills post-pandemic.

ReTrain - the app - retools the sport and physical activity workforce to ensure sector continuity, resilience and a strong return to sport post-pandemic. Funded by the National Lottery through Sport England to rescue sport, ReTrain is part of CIMSPA's vision to support, develop and enable professionals and organisations to succeed, inspiring the UK to become more active. 



lockdown qualifications

including qualifications for swimming teachers, pool plant operators, gym instructors, personal trainers, sports coaches, health navigators and entry managers, supporting 100 employers across the UK.


Go to the ReTrain app live

The operational delivery of the ReTrain project was centred on the bespoke, purpose-built platform that Freestyle designed. They were efficient, agile and flexible, responding to all user needs and ensured we remained on track in building a robust platform, integral to ReTrain’s success.

Spencer Moore, Director of Strategy, CIMSPA

How we did it:

We focused on two main audience journeys: 

Enabling providers to sign up and deliver training

Allowing employers to request and purchase training


Speed was key for the ReTrain project, so we worked with an agile methodology to deliver this product at pace. The ReTrain app was launched as an MVP (minimum viable product), across three sprints, each building on the two journeys.

Sprint 1:

Capturing supply and demand

The foundation of ReTrain was in understanding the employer needs and the training delivery opportunities.

Sprint 2:

Mapping and matching training requests with providers

A single view for the training requests and training providers helped to quickly identify local demand.

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Sprint 3:

Course delivery and management


Training providers manage course workflows and create new courses from scratch. In this sprint, CIMSPA gained a birds-eye-view of the courses capacity, status and progress reducing the risk of cancellation and funding being lost.

From brief to MVP in one month


Speed was vital for CIMSPA in this project. When we started working on ReTrain, there was no government roadmap for reopening the nation. COVID-19 was five months old and nobody knew how things would move forward.

Sports professionals still needed to be upskilled before Britain was allowed to return to physical activity like they did before.

The ReTrain app took eleven weeks to think and create. We launched the MVP four weeks after receiving the initial brief, meaning CIMSPA were able to smash through their targets and deliver the project as planned.

18,000 qualifications

gained during lockdown

since launching in August 2020

600+ training requests

in the first 2 months of launch

from employers all over the country

99 UK employers

upskilled their activity workforce

in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Freestyle were responsive, efficient and above all their expertise made the process of scoping and building the web app both smooth and successful. We adopted a clear sprint approach, and they kept us on track to meet project priorities and timelines.

Leon Smith, Course Coordinator, CIMSPA

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Patrick King

Business Development Director


Let's get started.

Drop Patrick a line to chat about your next project.