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Te students take care of marketing, profitability and retention, as well as the usual personal training responsibilities


Adam Groves has been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years, including time in the public sector working for a leisure trust and a stint in north London with LA fitness, before becoming the manager of Fit4less Stevenage.

How do your dual roles of gym manager and teacher reflect in your relationship with the students? It’s interesting as I don’t see the students as students, I see them as employees and they act like employees. Tat’s the great thing, this a real job for them, they need to be in at 5:45am every morning and they will be here, it’s not treated as a lesson that they could just skive from. Gordon and I had many sleepless nights at the start of the journey worrying whether we’d get early morning phone calls saying ‘we can’t make it in as we’ve got a hangover,’ but the phone call never came. On that basis you really start to build up relationships based on trust and mutual respect as colleagues, rather than teacher and student.

How do you choose which students get to work in the gym? It’s an interview structure. Adverts for the scheme go out in June, both internally and into local newspapers, whereby applications are sent to me. I will then go through the process of shortlisting, followed by inter- views, with the successful new students starting work with us in August.


and 7 hours of commercial skills develop- ment time, all based within the club. Tey have a rota each week and they are expected to be in the club within those hours, working whichever patterns have been set, so essen- tially it’s a full-time job. And then there’s an additional 7 hours each week where we expect them to be in the gym training and practising what they preach. It’s limited to 37 hours a week, but you find a lot of students chomping at the bit to do even more.

Do applicants need to be a PT of Level 2 standard already? No not essentially, we also look at people who have simply expressed a real interest in getting into the industry and that’s obviously where we need to draw a line with things like teaching on the gym floor – new starters can’t do that straight away and need to get the requisite qualifications under their belt first, but they’re in an environment where they can pick it up a lot quicker by shadow- ing people who are already qualified.

How do students combine work time with studying for their qualifications? Te students get paid for 15 hours of com- mercial work each week, they are given 7 hours of educational skills development time

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And how long do students typically spend working at the gym? Students sign a 12-month contract and then at the end of that time, if we’re happy and they’re happy, we’ll offer an additional year so that they can move up a skillset, e.g. Level 2 PTs can stay on and study for their Level 3. We’ve also had a few instances lately, where we’ve had fantastic Level 3 students who wanted to stay with us so we’ve actually put them onto a management course. With oth- ers, we’ll do our best to help them move on to other opportunities in the industry.

What happens after they leave? We’ve got some interesting stories, Ben Murphy qualified as a Level 3 with us and is now running his own PT business out of our club, which is fantastic. Another young lad actually applied for a role with the leisure trust I used to work for and ended up being offered three jobs – he’s now an assistant manager. Meanwhile, one student devel- oped a real appetite for learning more about strength and conditioning and is now going to St Mary’s University to study for a degree, with the aim of moving into elite sport.

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2014

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