Sports and Leisure

What's it all about?

There are many different jobs on offer in a wide range of areas in sport and leisure. It’s also one of those sectors where you can work your way to the top, if you work hard and are prepared to learn and update your knowledge and skills all the time.

Sport and leisure isn’t just about being good at sports You might become a professional if you have the talent, but your skills would be just as useful in other parts of the sports and leisure sector.

You could be employed in a wide variety of settings – including country clubs, leisure centres, health and fitness centres, tennis clubs, after-school clubs, water sports centres, sports shops, gyms, caravan and camping parks, golf courses, swimming pools, holiday complexes or even Outward Bound centres.

Most jobs involve working with, and helping other people in their sporting or leisure activities, but there are some sports-related jobs too.

Sport and leisure careers cover a wide area including:

  • Sport and Recreation
  • Health and Fitness
  • Outdoors activities
  • Playwork
  • Caravan business

There are also lots of opportunities to work in administration. Sports and leisure jobs are in all kinds of businesses and organisations based across the public, private or voluntary sectors.

Health and Fitness

The health and fitness sector is growing. Catering for people of all ages and backgrounds, it includes everything from health clubs to leisure centres. Jobs can include sales (persuading people to join a club), fitness instructors, personal trainers, group exercise instructors – even yoga and pilates teachers.

It also includes recreation assistants, club managers, duty managers and lifeguards, plus all the people who support them such as maintenance and cleaning staff, finance manager/ assistant, human resources and receptionists.

Outdoor Sector

The outdoor sector is about leisure pursuits in the open - for example on hills and mountains, in water and in the air. You may have met activity leaders or instructors on school trips or summer play schemes. There are also jobs like countryside rangers, youth leaders, sports coaches, development trainers or facility managers. You can get some jobs with lower academic qualifications, but many still need a high level of skill and therefore you’ll need to take instructor’s qualifications and be at least 18 years of age.

Sports and Recreation

The sports and recreation industry involves the running of all amateur and professional sports clubs, as well as all other sporting activities. Careers can include coaching (supporting sports people, sports teams, community teams or school groups), officiating (referees, umpires, judges, marshals or time keepers), sports development (working with local people, schools, clubs and volunteers to organise sports activities and promote events) and sports or leisure facility management.


Playworkers provide leisure activities for school age children in out-of-school settings. They might be creative, provide sport or games, offer cooking or drama, or just a chance to talk.

They work in breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, on play buses, play centre/youth groups, adventure playgrounds or holiday play schemes. They can also progress on to other things like management or helping develop local education and training.

The Caravan Business

The Caravan Business covers touring-caravans, motor homes, caravan holiday-homes (permanently sited on parks), and park homes for year-round residential use. You could work in parks, manufacturing or sales.

Compare jobs you like and see if they are predicted to grow

To find out what you will earn in different jobs (you can put in up to three) and see other facts including whether this job is predicted to grow in the UK, use the Careerometer which is on the left of each Job Sector page (yellow box).

Is this a predicted growth area in the South of England?

The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have been asked to predict which job sectors will grow. This information could help you develop your skills and gain qualifications for specific job roles, sectors or particular places where there are likely to be opportunities. No growth doesn't mean there are no jobs but growth does mean there are likely to be more jobs!

The Local Enterprise Partnerships do not specifically identify Sport and Leisure as a priority growth area for growth but some do refer to leisure activity and the health and well being of the population. Sport and leisure can help people stay active and remain healthier for longer and is a priority for all ages. Sport England places sport in the top 15 industry sectors in England.

Oxford and Thames valley - There are no specific predictions or priorities from the local LEPs regarding this sector.

Solent - There are no specific predictions or priorities from the local LEPs regarding this sector.

South West - There are no specific predictions or priorities from the local LEPs regarding this sector.

Find out more about growth industries in the South of England.

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