Saturday, 22 December 2012


The Olympics and Paralympics have inspired many of us to get fit and that’s helping create more jobs in sport. 
Nigel Wallace, of training provider Lifetime, says one of the big pluses of being part of the leisure and fitness industry is being able to inspire thousands of people to become more ­physically active and improve the health of the nation. And despite the gloomy economic times there are loads of opportunities in the industry. “The sector has experienced steady growth over the past year,” he says. “There are plenty of aprenticeship programmes for school leavers as well as flexible learning programmes for adults wanting to gain further qualifications.”

Jobs range from fitness clubs to county council school schemes and even if you don't consider yourself active there are loads of other roles from office work to hospitality.

Jo, 28, has hypermobility, a common condition that left her with bad posture, niggling aches and pains and little energy.Dislocated hips and a bad car crash as a child caused the problems but she decided to just put up with it until her chiropractor and doctor suggested she try pilates. "I read it up and started practising it regularly and was soon hooked. It is very ‘posture conscious’ – always training the body with the spinal alignment in mind. After about six months I had completely changed the shape of my lower spine. The aches and pains started to go and my posture improved dramatically. It was then that I decided I wanted to help other people in the same way.” Jo used all her savings to get her instructor qualifications and then decided to look for some advice on how to set up and launch her own business. She had been unemployed for several months and her local Jobcentre referred her to an employment and skills experts. “I knew almost nothing about how to run a business and even for a small one like mine there was a lot to arrange,” she says. Jo took part in detailed sessions on market research, finance and networking. “Before I knew it I was holding my first class.” she says. "I've never felt anything so rewarding. Nothing beats the feeling that you are maing a real difference to people's lives and helping them drastically improve their health and fitness. It’s wonderful.”

The usual route into a career in fitness is to complete a course with a leisure training provider. A Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing is usually required. Look out for apprenticeships to help you earn and learn as you work towards qualifications. The Football Association have their own qualifications for football coaching. Fitness instructors can earn between £10,000 and £14,000, while fitness managers receive up to £25,000. Community football coaches earn between £16,000 and £24,000 while sports development officers get £16,000 to £40,000 depending on the job and experience. Freelance trainers can earn £25 to £50 an hour while those employed by a club will earn less - usually 50% of the hourly rate.

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