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Turok plans to have 2,000 young people in full-time work by next April and 10,000 within three years


understand the problems faced by NEETs. The education system has let these young people down.” While his upbringing sowed the seeds


for TAG, it was really a challenge set by Turok’s wife that spurred him on. “We were talking about two of my friends’ children, who were unemployed and had no qualifi cations,” he explains. “Sue said: ‘You’ve got this big company, you work in the health and fi tness industry, both of these kids are good at sport. Surely there’s something you can do’.”


Of course, it’s Turok’s commercial


success with LA Fitness that really enabled him to progress with TAG. He started his career as a PE teacher, moving on to work for David Lloyd Leisure as a swimming coach, before buying his fi rst health club in London’s Victoria. In 1990, he teamed up with Jeremy Taylor and David Turner, and they formed the LA Fitness brand in 1996. Just a year later they had joined the UK’s top 10 health club operators, and, today, LA Fitness has 80 clubs across the country.


“I’ve been lucky enough to be


successful in my commercial career, which has given me the opportunity to enjoy my passion of helping underprivileged people,” says Turok, who attributes his success to “hard work and a team of people who aren’t afraid to challenge me”. In 2008, Turok and “a couple of other


philanthropists” funded a pilot in west London to test the TAG model. They formed a relationship with community leader Shaun Bailey, who helped them identify 15 local youngsters who he thought would be right for the scheme. At the end of the six months, 70 per cent of the participants were placed into full-time employment and the pilot was declared a success. The next stage was getting health


and fi tness operators on board, to offer the students work experience and hopefully paid employment at the end of the course. This part, says Turok, was relatively easy. “The proposition is a pretty


compelling one for an employer,” he says. “We tell them: ‘We’ll fi nd the young people and train them for you, free of charge. We will provide the necessary soft skills so that, by the time they join you, they’ll understand what it is to be managed and the importance of being on time and being smart. And we’ll employ and mentor these students for fi ve months, while they work in your organisation, giving you the opportunity to develop them and manage them.’ “All we ask for is a commitment that,


if they have a position, and the person is good enough, they will employ them.” Getting a job in a health club is just


one of the ‘exit routes’ for the young people taking part in TAG. Others


october 2010 © cybertrek 2010 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 43


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