The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Leisure Centre Manager

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What is a Leisure Centre Manager?

  • Job Description

    Are you dedicated to sports, leisure, health and fitness? Do you have natural leadership skills?

    As a leisure centre manager, you will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre. You will be overseeing every department, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that customers are always happy.

  • Hours of Work

    As a full time leisure centre manager, you will be expected to work at least 37 hours per week, including early mornings, evenings, weekends and public holidays.

    In this role, you must be flexible in order to attend events, cover absent staff when needed and to be there in case of emergencies. As the manager, you will be responsible for any issues that may occur.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Leisure Centre Manager?

    Duties typically include:

    • Managing budgets
    • Hiring, managing and disciplining staff
    • Managing rotas
    • Organising events
    • Ensuring health and safety procedures are in place
    • Developing new facilities
    • Dealing with problems such as complaints and accidents
    • Marketing
    • Arranging catering
    • Dealing with paperwork and writing reports

Key Leisure Centre Manager qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

In this role, it isn’t vital to have a degree, however it will be useful to have some qualifications in management and in leisure. Experience is a must and you will need to work your way up to management once you have some qualifications under your belt. You could even take part time management courses whilst working. Some subjects you can look in to are:

  • Sports and Leisure Management
  • Leisure Studies
  • Sport Science
  • Recreation Management
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In some cases, you might need a first aid qualification, a lifeguard qualification, a DBS check to work with children and a driving license.

Vital Leisure Centre Manager skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role

  • Leadership
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Organisational skills
  • Marketing
  • Presentation skills
  • IT and Administration
  • Energetic and enthusiastic
  • Assertive
  • Outgoing
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What is a Leisure Centre Manager’s salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

Your salary will be dependent on the size and the location of the leisure centre that you are managing. You could earn between £25,000 and £35,000 in this role. Your pay will also be dependent on the qualifications you have and your level of experience.

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How to become a Leisure Centre Manager

Now that you know what a Leisure Centre Manager does, how do you become one?

There are a few different routes you can take to start your career as a leisure centre manager. Experience is essential, so most of your options will involve training within the workplace.

  • If you did go to university, you could look into management graduate schemes within a leisure or sports centre. You will be taking part in a program where you will be trained to management level within a certain time frame – usually 1 to 3 years depending on the program.

    University isn’t for everyone, and if you fall into that category, you can apply to do an apprenticeship. Depending on the level, you can qualify for an apprenticeship straight from school with your GCSE’s. You will be trained from the ground up and will learn everything you need to know through practical experience whilst achieving a qualification on the side – usually you will be able to attend college weekly or fortnightly.

  • Another option is to get a job within a leisure centre in another role – such as receptionist or sports coach, and then work your way up from there. This is a long route to take but it will give you a chance to decide if it is really for you. You might first be promoted to team leader, then supervisor, to assistant manager and finally manager. You will learn an awful lot and will really understand the processes and your staff – seeing as you would have done it all before! Your hard work will pay off when you are recognised and continuously promoted.

How to develop your Leisure Centre Manager career?

The next steps after gaining experience as a leisure centre manager is to get promoted to an area or a regional manager. You will be responsible for managing multiple leisure centres within a specific area. It sure is a challenge but you will never get bored as you will be constantly on your feet, travelling between centres.

If you are really looking for a brand new challenge, why not have a change of career? You could become a hotel manager. It is a completely different sector, but once you have the leadership skills perfected, you can simply retrain in catering or hospitality and steer your career in a different direction.

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