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Careers in the recreation sector focus on helping people enjoy activities in their spare time. This can involve planning and delivering events, managing sites and facilities or hands-on customer services.
In the recreation industry you could choose to work in either the public or private sector. There will be opportunities within your local government, or national park; or alternatively there are private establishments such as casinos and racetracks. Across the sector there are opportunities to work ‘front-of-house’ (directly with customers) or in a head office function (e.g. Sales, Finance, Marketing…). Most businesses in this space are small-to-medium sized (SMEs).
Recreation (particularly in the gambling industry) quite often blends customer service with technical and commercial responsibilities. For instance, as a croupier in a casino you would look after and welcome guests to a table/game, as well as ensuring that bets are made and paid fairly, according to company policies.
Working in leisure centre management will give you exposure to a mixture of commercial and administrative challenges and opportunities, as you will be responsible for overseeing the activities on offer, implementing company policy at a local level and dealing with budgetary issues.
If working for a national park, you might find yourself helping to execute a local policy plan for a specific location, entailing consideration for environmental, commercial and social factors. One of the main draws to working in this area of the recreation sector is the opportunity to enhance and improve high profile national sites and areas of natural heritage.
Challenges and themes common to all areas of the recreation sector include seasonal peaks and troughs in business, and relatively low salaries. However, these challenges are offset through the passion for customer satisfaction, relatively high flexibility in working hours and greater individual responsibilities than is typical in many other sectors.