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Advertising paid and unpaid job roles in sport: an updated position statement from the UK Strength and Conditioning Association
  1. Chris John Bishop,
  2. Peter McKnight,
  3. Crofton Alexander,
  4. Edward Archer,
  5. Richard Hunwicks,
  6. Daniel J Cleather
  1. UK Strength and Conditioning Association, Lytham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Chris John Bishop, London Sports Institute, Middlesex University, London NW4 1RL, UK; C.Bishop{at}

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The strength and conditioning (S&C) industry within the UK has seen an unprecedented growth in the last 10–15 years. More jobs exist than ever (figure 1), and the profession is held in increasingly higher regard by those looking to enhance athletic performance. This growth has been accompanied by a substantial rise in those seeking professional accreditation; this reflected by an increase in UK S&C accredited coaches doubling from ~400 in 2011 to ~800 in 2017. Consequently, the growing interest in S&C has also seen a dramatic increase in internships,1 many of which have been advertised as unpaid.

Figure 1

Current distribution of S&C coaches in the UK at the start of 2017 (results taken from the UKSCA state of the Nation Survey). S&C, strength and conditioning; UKSCA, UK Strength and Conditioning Association.

Whether unpaid internships are legal or not is ambiguous. The government (HM Revenue and Customs in UK) website states that: ‘An intern’s rights depend on their employment status. If an intern is classed as a worker, then they’re normally due the National Minimum Wage’. The definition of a ‘worker’ indicates that a contract is exchanged between the two parties involved. However, if an applicant accepts …

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  • Contributors This editorial has undergone numerous drafts, all of which have been agreed upon by all board members of the UKSCA, and all authors have provided the same amount of work to create this editorial.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.