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Leisure centre manager

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

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £37,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

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

Future employment

There will be 3% more Leisure centre manager jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • arrange leisure activity timetables
  • organise and promote special events
  • recruit, schedule and manage staff
  • control budgets and monitor performance targets for your centre
  • take responsibility for health and safety
  • visit organisations, like local authorities, to promote your centre

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 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 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

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.

You may be able to start off as an intermediate leisure team member apprentice and then apply for trainee management positions leading to the advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 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, fitness assistant or management trainee in a leisure centre, and work towards professional qualifications to become a manager.

Volunteering and work experience

You could improve your chances of employment by getting practical experience in a leisure centre, either through seasonal work or by volunteering.

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 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.

Further information

You can find out more about working in leisure from the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.

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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.

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
  • 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
  • knowledge of human resources and employment law
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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