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STUDENT SPECIAL Making choices – the leisure industry

Making a career choice at a young age is tough. Tuition fee hikes and levels of youth unemployment are just two concerns that make it hard for young people to make a decision on career development


esearch from banking group Santander reveals just how tough making a career choice can be. Conducted among 1,000 peo-

ple, its study showed that 79 per cent of pre-university students believe that a degree provides the best long-term career prospects. But that leaves a potential 21 per cent who believe there are other ways to build a career. Economic uncertainty and changing edu-

cational legislation will inevitably play on young people’s minds. However, unlike some industries, leisure continues to hold its ground in a landscape of economic uncer- tainty, with the sector off ering various options to both school leavers and gradu- ates to gain a foothold on the career ladder - potentially making the choice a little less stressful. “T e leisure industry off ers a wide range

of opportunities for young people and is particularly for those who don’t feel an aca- demic route is for them and see the appeal of a more vocational training route to their

Emma Sleight

Where are you working and what is your position? Working at YMCA and Sherwood E-ACT Academy as a member advisor and fi tness instructor. What does your day-to-day role include? Greeting members, devising training schedules, admin duties, teaching classes. What attracted you to the leisure industry? My interest in sport and the leisure industry, taking part in my own fi tness regime, the willingness to learn more and exploring my interest further. What attracted you to this particular sector? T e opportunity to interact with members on both a one to one and group basis and in general, working with a subject matter I have enjoyed for many years. How easy was it to fi nd a job? Got my fi rst job through word of mouth, training at a smaller centre and getting to know the instructors, my second job took a while to acquire with a lot of interest in the industry. How did you enter the industry? What training course did you do before your fi rst job? Aſt er my initial interest in the industry I began exploring my training options through enquiring about diff erent courses. In


career,” says Victoria Branch, global market- ing director of Premier Training. “T e real benefi ts are in the way that voca-

tional training allows such a quick and easy way into the workplace. Also, with voca- tional training, young people can be far

“Vocational training

allows a quick and easy way into the workplace”

more specifi c with the skill set they acquire and therefore better qualify themselves for the career paths they would like to take.”

Options Vocational programmes are available from a variety of providers off ering specifi c entrance points to young people. Each of the

programmes aims to enhance both students’ professional experience and allow them to gain certifi ed accreditation in a specifi c fi eld. Providers include the likes of T e Training

Room which is able to provide training and qualifi cations, while companies like Lifetime Training are able to set students up with apprenticeships, giving them the chance to earn as they learn in leisure capacities. Oſt en these apprenticeships will result in students gaining certifi ed qualifi cations. Certifi ed accreditation is important as

most employers see it as a basic require- ment. For example, those wanting to pursue a career in health and fi tness will need to gain accreditation which is certifi ed by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS), an independent public register which rec- ognises the qualifi cations and expertise of exercise instructors in the UK. SkillsActive, which is responsible for REPS, has also launched the Register of Aquatic Professionals (RAPS), which seeks to maintain aquatic training standards.

the end I decided to train with T e Training Room which was a fast-track course for six weeks, the most convenient in time. How well do you think your training pre- pared you for a career in leisure? My course defi nitely prepared me with the knowledge that I needed to take forward into the industry as well as the confi dence needed to lead group classes, for example. What advice would you have for school leav-

ers looking to get into the industry? Explore your options, explore diff erent gyms and get to know various instructors asking them about their experience in the industry. Is there anything you would do diff erently if given the chance? I wished I’d have known sooner that I wanted to go into the fi t- ness industry, as initially I wanted to become a journalist. Is working in the leisure industry what you expected? T rough experiencing gyms as a member I defi nitely expected the environment to be the way it turned out to be when working in the gym. What are the best aspects of the leisure industry? Meeting new people and making a positive change to their lives. And the worst? Gym environments fl uctuate so it is at its worst when it is quiet! T ese are typically the summer months in the holiday season.

Read Leisure Opportunities online: Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2013


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