Leisure Centre Manager

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

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


You need:

  • maths knowledge
  • health and safety: understanding health and safety regulations and practices is crucial when managing a facility that offers various activities and services.
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills – participating in team sports or extracurricular activities that develop leadership and teamwork skills can be valuable for managing staff and coordinating activities at the leisure centre.
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • 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

You’ll need to:

  • pass enhanced background checks
  • have a first aid certificate
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

Becoming a leisure centre manager requires a combination of skills, qualifications, and experience in both business management and the leisure industry.

While there are no strict GCSE subject requirements, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for pursuing this career path. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be relevant for becoming a leisure centre manager:

  1. Business Studies: This subject can provide you with a basic understanding of business concepts, management principles, marketing, and financial management. As a leisure centre manager, you’ll need to oversee various aspects of the facility’s operations, making business knowledge important.
  2. Mathematics: Strong math skills are essential for budgeting, financial analysis, and resource management.
  3. Physical Education (PE): A background in PE can be advantageous, as leisure centres often offer fitness and recreational activities. Understanding exercise and physical activity principles can help you manage fitness programs and facilities effectively.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in computer skills is important for managing reservations, maintaining databases, and utilizing software systems for scheduling and administrative tasks.
  5. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for interacting with staff, clients, and stakeholders, as well as for writing reports and promotional materials.
  6. Hospitality and Tourism: While not a common GCSE subject, if available, it can provide insights into the service industry, customer relations, and managing guest experiences, which are relevant to leisure centre management.

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

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Diploma in Leisure Management
  • Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity

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.

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.

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically, you would work 39 to 41 hours per week. You could work at a fitness centre or in an office.

Career Path & 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.