Sports and Recreation Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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The sports and recreation sector covers a wide area: everything from local fitness centres to adventure sports to personal training. The sports and recreation industry offers an exciting, active and often outdoor lifestyle, meaning jobs are in high demand.

Jobs in the sports and recreation sector that you may be interested in, although there are many more, include:

  • PE teacher
  • Leisure centre management
  • Outdoor pursuits
  • Sports development manager
  • Adventure travel
  • Fitness instructor
  • Personal trainer

Although the range of jobs across the sports and recreation sector is varied, many of them involve similar skills, such as working with people and high levels of motivation. To work in the sector you should be outgoing and confident, with a love of human interaction.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

There are many jobs, such as fitness instructor and roles within outdoor pursuits, that do not require a degree. If your interests lay in this area you should investigate the qualifications that you need.

Management roles, such as leisure or fitness centre management, will often require a 2.1 degree, although the subject is not overly important. Degrees that may be of use include:

  • Business management
  • Sports science
  • Physiology
  • Life sciences
  • Events management

What skills do I need?TOP ^

In the vast majority of cases working in the sports and recreation sector is going to involve constant communication and interaction with the general public, even if you are in a management role. This means that a variety of skills are essential. They include:

There are also other important skills that you will need to display, especially if you are in a management role in this industry:

You must also have a very strong awareness of the market that you are working within, both with regards to the consumer and competitors within the industry. You may also need some commercial and business awareness, depending on your job role. It goes without saying that your knowledge of fitness and sports science should be strong if you are in a fitness trainer or hand-on role, although if you are in management this specific knowledge is less important.

What graduate sports and recreation job can I do? TOP ^

There are a number of graduate jobs in sports and recreation. If you have a specific degree, such as sports science, you may want to go into fitness instructing or personal training.

There are a number of business and management related jobs in the sports and recreation sector that you could go into with a wide variety of degrees. Working in a management, marketing, advertising, sales or finance role, you could choose to work for a:

  • Fitness centre
  • Outdoor pursuits centre
  • Theme park
  • Sports development agency
  • Health club/ gym

There are also many graduate jobs available in the sports and recreation sector. Some of the biggest graduate employers include David Lloyd Leisure and Parkwood Leisure.

Within these companies you are likely to work across a wide variety of business roles. Graduate programmes give you a structured pattern of work, set goals to reach, and often offer the chance of a permanent job after the completion of your scheme. Schemes are likely to last between 18 months and two years.

Average sports and recreation salariesTOP ^

Jobs in the sports and recreation sector vary greatly in terms of salary, with management jobs commanding the highest wages. As a leisure centre manager you may earn up to £35,000. Sports development officers typically earn between £18,000 and £29,000.

As a fitness instructor or sports coach you could earn between £15,000 and £35,000, depending on your location, level of qualification and whether you are employed by a local authority/ council or by a private club. If you have a specialism or move into personal training you could earn a lot more - the top fitness coaches can expect to be paid around £100,000.

As a trainee on a graduate scheme, you can be expected to be paid a very reasonable wage. The average graduate starting salary across all sectors in 2013 is £29,000.

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