Sports centre manager, gym manager
Leisure centre managers look after the day-to-day running of sports and leisure centres.
Salary range: £18,000 to £35,000
How to become a leisure centre manager
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- a graduate training scheme
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
- sports and leisure management
- leisure studies
- sports science
- recreation management
You’ll usually need:
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:
- Level 3 Diploma in Leisure Management
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could get into the leisure industry through an advanced apprenticeship as a leisure duty manager.
This will usually take 18 months to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
Most people following this route have:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as an admin officer, fitness assistant or management trainee in a leisure centre, and work towards professional qualifications to become a manager.
Volunteering and experience
You could improve your chances of employment by getting practical experience in a leisure centre, either through seasonal work or by volunteering.
You could apply for a graduate management trainee scheme with one of the large leisure companies if you’ve got a degree.
You would work in different areas of the business while completing professional qualifications to become a manager.
Professional and industry bodies
You may find it useful to join the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You can find out more about working in leisure from the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- business management skills
- leadership skills
- customer service skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- maths knowledge
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks
- have a first aid certificate
What you’ll do
Your duties will vary depending on where you work, but would typically include:
- arranging leisure activity timetables
- organising and promoting special events
- recruiting, scheduling and managing staff
- controlling budgets
- taking responsibility for health and safety
- visiting organisations, like local authorities, to promote your centre
You could work at a fitness centre or in an office.
Career path and progression
You’re likely to have more opportunities for promotion in larger organisations. With experience you may be able to become an area or regional manager, with responsibility for service development among a group of centres.
You could use your experience in leisure centre management to move into related areas like sports promotion and development, or building partnerships with local authorities and national governing bodies.