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Customer services

Leisure centre manager

Leisure centre managers oversee the day-to-day running of sports and leisure centres.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 2.2% more Leisure centre manager jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a leisure centre manager, you would:

  • plan leisure activity timetables
  • organise and promote special events like competitions
  • recruit, schedule and manage staff
  • control budgets and monitor performance targets for your centre
  • manage maintenance programmes and health and safety
  • maintain accurate records, such as bookings and memberships

Working environment

You could work at a fitness centre or in an office.

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
  • business management

Entry requirements

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
For more information

You could take a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

Relevant subjects include:

  • leisure management
  • sport and exercise science
  • coaching

For more information

You could get into the leisure industry through a Team Leader or Supervisor Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

This usually takes around 1 year and 6 months to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

Once you have completed the apprenticeship, you can take further training on the job to move into trainee duty management positions.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as an admin officer, swimming teacher or fitness coach and apply for a place on a management trainee scheme in a leisure centre. You could then work towards professional qualifications to become a manager.

Other routes

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.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) for professional recognition, training and career development opportunities.

Further information

You can find more information about working in leisure management from CIMSPA.

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With experience you may be able to become an area or regional manager, with responsibility for service development among a group of centres.

You're likely to have more opportunities for promotion in larger organisations.

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 for different sports.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of human resources and employment law
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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