Leisure centre manager

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

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

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

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 Extended Diploma in Sport

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

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.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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 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.

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your duties will vary depending on where you work, but would typically include:

  • arranging leisure activity timetables
  • organising and promoting special events
  • recruiting, scheduling and managing staff
  • controlling budgets
  • taking responsibility for health and safety
  • visiting organisations, like local authorities, to promote your centre

Working environment

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

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Leisure Attendant/Lifeguard Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £120.00 Weekly
  • Location: Nuneaton CV11 4LX

Sports Centre Apprentice (Level 2)

  • Wage : £160.95 - £303.77 Weekly
  • Location: Ipswich IP4 1LT

Courses In England

BTEC Diploma in Sport & Active Leisure L1

  • Provider: Tyne Coast College T/A South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College
  • Start date: 31 August 2020
  • Location: Wallsend

BTEC Diploma Level 1 Sport and Active Leisure

  • Provider: Moulton College
  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: Northampton

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