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Leisure centre manager

Alternative titles for this job include Sports centre manager, gym manager

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

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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
  • 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

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

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

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

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.

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.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

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.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Leisure Team Member Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,416.00 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Swimming Teacher Apprentice

  • Wage: £12,480.00 Annually
  • Location: BURNLEY

Courses In England

Level 3 Sport & Physical Activity

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Warrington

Sport and Physical Activity Diploma Level 3

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Newport

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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