Careers in Sport and the Leisure Industry
Below is some guidance if you are considering a career in sport with various resources to help you research your sports career in more depth and to know what to expect. In some cases having a relevant degree would be necessary, such as Sports and Exercise Science (SES) or Sport and Social Science (SaSS).
You may also want to check out the range of Sporting Opportunities sports coaching trips, sports internships and sports work experience on this website to gain further knowledge in the industry. Our sports trips overseas combine a unique opportunity to see how sport is being developed and played in countries stretching right across the globe and could give you that extra edge in getting that perfect sports job.
Another useful resource to research jobs in the sports industry is the Careers in Sport website which you can visit at the following link and also read a bit more on our football coaching projects abroad through Sporting Opportunities: http://www.careers-in-sport.co.uk/profile/coach-sports-abroad
So, what next?
Start researching you career in sport.
If you would like to enter a sports related career then it is important to start finding out, as soon as possible, what jobs in sport involve, what routes people normally take to get into them and what skills and experience you might need before you can get into them.
Read as much as you can about the sports jobs that people do using the resources in this guide. The more you know about the day to day work of people the easier it will be for you to decide if it is right for you.
Many of the websites below have case studies and profiles for you to read.
British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
The biggest professional body in the UK, almost 50% student membership, advertising a wide range of sports science opportunities including sponsorships.
Website of the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning.
Careers in Sport
www.careers-in-sport.co.uk ; @careerinsport
From Sport IQ, the web site that aims to help anyone who has an interest in developing both their own and others' sporting intelligence.
Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity
A guide to careers in sport from the Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity which is the new single professional body for the sector in the UK.
Leisure, sport and tourism profiles include, Fitness centre manager, Lifestyle consultant, Outdoor pursuits manager, Recreation assistant, Sports administrator, Sports coach/instructor, Sports development officer, Sports psychologist, Sportsperson.
Healthcare job profiles include, Exercise physiologist, Health promotion specialist, Physiotherapist and Sports therapist.
Look at jobs on offer
Even the rich resources of the sites above will not reveal all the job possibilities in the sports career sector. You should also do some general searches and browse for interesting sports job opportunities to discover unique or different sports jobs, such as some on this website, which you are unlikely to discover elsewhere.
Below are some sites which could help you. The list comprises sites whose main focus is to advertise jobs. Jobs may also be found on other sites such as those of professional bodies.
www.uksport.gov.uk/jobs ; @uk_sport
UK Sport is responsible for investing public funds from both the National Lottery and the Exchequer in high performance sport. It has a good jobs section.
Official recruitment magazine of a number of key professional bodies in the leisure industry.
Global sports jobs
Wide range of jobs across all sports and levels, and with a global reach so a wide variety of countries too.
Sport and leisure jobs in local government.
www.jobs.ac.uk ; @jobsacuk
Research vacancies at universities.
Sports recruitment agencies
www.leisurejobs.com – recruitment agency.
www.sportsrecruitment.com – has useful advice and information about getting into the field.
www.jobswithballs.com – often mentioned for sport and leisure jobs; carries a limited range of jobs plus some useful advice.
www.adventurework.co.uk – online directory of employment opportunities for anyone seeking
paid or voluntary employment in the adventure, activity, water sports and ski industry.
Know about the sports business
If you plan on making your career in sport it is no good just being a spectator or player. You need to be finding out about the news, the challenges and the issues facing the industry. Make sure you read a good quality newspaper and take an interest in the broad range of sports related news items.
As the sports industry was an early adopter of social media, following organisations you are interested in (ours are www.facebook.com/sportingopportunities, and https://twitter.com/sportingopps) and relevant national bodies is a really good way to keep up to date with what is going on.
Check out the digital version of the magazine Leisure opportunities as it carries news as well as jobs - www.leisureopportunities.co.uk.
SportBusiness.com – www.sportbusiness.com
This site provides a range of sports news, details of sports events, sports job vacancies, directories of people and organisations. You can subscribe to free e-newsletters and updates.
Sportcal.com is a leading website for the global sports market providing up-to-date information services so full of news! www.sportcal.com
www.sportindustry.biz – Useful site to find out what’s happening in the industry.
Another good site is UK Sport, www.uksport.gov.uk which has a newsletter you can subscribe to.
There are also individual sports sites like fcbusiness www.fcbusiness.co.uk/industry which
give a business insight into a particular sport.
Gain experience and talk to contacts in the sector
Building up a network of useful contacts could be the key to building up your sports work experience and finding sports jobs that are right for you.
If you are a sports player talk with your coach and representatives from your club or governing body.
There are very few graduate training schemes in the industry so you may well need to take stepping stone jobs to help you achieve your sports career goals.
These sites could contain jobs and news to help you in your research as well as information on development strategies or focuses on specific sports. These bodies control the funding for and development of sports at all levels, from grassroots to elite athletes.
www.sportengland.org ; @sport_england
Information services from Sport England including jobs.
www.sportscotland.org.uk ; @sportscotland
Sports Northern Ireland
www.sportni.net ; @SportNINet
www.sport.wales ; @sport_wales
www.uksport.gov.uk ; @uk_sport
Agency which oversees the spending of public money on sport. Contains a list of National Governing Bodies, with links, and a good sports jobs section.
English Institute of Sport
www.eis2win.co.uk ; @eis2win
Scottish Institute of Sport
www.sportscotland.org.uk/sisport ; @sportscotland
Here are some other websites which might be useful to those seeking more information about the diverse field of sports careers.
British Psychological Society
Information on Sports Psychology
British Activity Providers Association
Trade association for private sector providers of activity holidays and courses in the UK.
Health and Fitness Education (HFE)
HFE is an award-winning training provider to the exercise and fitness profession. They deliver a broad range of fitness industry qualifications, including personal trainer courses, Pilates, yoga and exercise specialist qualifications, to name but a few. For more information on HFE’s internationally recognised qualifications, visit: www.hfe.co.uk
Institute of Outdoor Learning
Promotes best practice in outdoor careers ranging from sports instructor to countryside ranger. The information covers areas such as sports careers, accreditation, conferences and sports publications and there is also a sports job vacancy section.
Register of Personal Trainers (RPT)
The Register of Personal Trainers is the only UK register of personal trainers that independently verifies the qualification status of its subscribed trainers before they are permitted to advertise their services. The RPT serves to connect ‘registered’ personal trainers with clients who want to find a personal trainer in their area. For more information visit: www.rpt.co.uk
National Register of Personal Trainers
Sports Dieticians UK
Sports Coach UK, the National Coaching Foundation
www.sportscoachuk.org ; @sportscoachUK
Sports goods manufacturing
The Sporting Goods Industry Association (SGIA) represents manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of sporting goods in the UK.
Federation of Sports and Play Associations
Sports & Physical Education (PE) Association UK
Keynote Market Research
Site has many sports-related market research reports
European Sponsorship Association
Members include key sports sponsorship organisations.
Sales and marketing, market research for sports and leisure sector, they do advertise work experience.
Leading provider of corporate hospitality at premier sporting events
www.sportsmarketingsurveysinc.com – Consultancy specialising in market research and feasibility studies.
So after all this information to help you find the perfect career in sport, do make sure you take a look around the Sporting Opportunities website to discover the range of interesting sports opportunities we have around the world. Start your sports adventure now.
“Without a doubt this has been the best five weeks of my life! The kids I have been coaching are inspirational – they are so positive despite having such tough lives.”Sophia Harrington , Netball, South Africa
“If I had to describe my time in South Africa in four words, they would be ‘Time of my Life’! The experiences and friendships I now have are so special. South Africa was truly life changing and I’ll never forget it. I’d recommend it to anyone.”Hayley Edwards , Netball, South Africa
"What an amazing experience. Both working with the junior players as well as playing against local teams gave me a real insight into what a wonderful and amazing place Ghana was from a sporty angle. I've made friends for life and thanks so much to all the staff that made this period of my life completely unforgettable."Suzanne Hilton , Netball, Ghana
"I will always remember what a mad, brilliant and fun loving country Ghana is. 3 months on the netball coaching placement has opened my eyes to so many things. I loved seeing the young netballers develop their skills and winning regular matches was a thrill. I hope to visit Ghana again one day and see how everyone is getting on. Thank you so much".Jo Warnock , Netball, Ghana
"An amazing 4 weeks in the sun doing something completely worthwhile. I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the girls and ability to pick up the game and follow my instructions. I can't wait to revisit St Lucia again some day and seeing whether the young netball players I helped coach made it into the National team".Deborah Hopkins , Netball, St Lucia
"I have always wanted to go to the Caribbean but never thought I would be able to get so involved with the local culture. St Lucia has wonderful people and great places to dance and chill out... I have never seen beaches like that in my life. The project work was fantastic as well and thanks to all the staff and kids involved that have made this a trip of a lifetime".Daniella Cox , Netball, St Lucia
''To be able to assess and treat some of the most promising young footballers in the country, both on and off the pitch, provided me with an opportunity that I would never have been able to get in the UK.''Heathor Taylor , Sports Physiotherapy, Ghana
''Just keep doing what you’re doing, it was wonderful to see the differences you have made! I’ve made so many great friends and have the most amazing memories!.''Joanna Hayes , Sports Physiotherapy, Ghana
''I would just like to thank you for such a brilliant to trip to Ghana. I had a fantastic time and thought I was really able to use my skills as a qualified physiotherapist.''Marc Holl , Sports Physiotherapy, Ghana
''The outpatients and staff gave me a send off party and I was touched and embarrassed by the extent of their gratitude. To be truthful, my contribution was limited, but it was appreciated, and I got an enormous amount out of being there.''Sarah Remnant , Sports Physiotherapy, Ghana
''I would never have thought about going to St Lucia on a sports gap year but I am glad I did. The kids were just amazing and had real passion for the game. I really felt I contributed massively to the development of these young players and I look forward to booking my next trip back to see how they have progressed."Joe Page , Rugby Union, St Lucia
''I have been playing rugby for a number of years through school and university and this experience was a perfect way of sharing my knowledge with a great bunch of young people. The kids really took to the game and working alongside the National Rugby Team is another experience I will never forget. Thanks to everyone involved in organising this fantastic sporting opportunity''.Paul Adams , Rugby Union, St Lucia
"What an amazing 8 weeks had on the rugby coaching placement in Ghana. The kids were just so receptive to what I taught them and there is some serious skill in Ghana! I've made friends for life and this rwho experience really has set me up for wanting to become a sports coach in the future".Rob Davies , Rugby Union, Ghana
"Training in the Ghana heat is a challenge but so worth it. My fitness has improved 10 fold. Working with the young rugby lads was excellent and seeing my team score a winning try has to have been a highlight. Ghana has some amazing places to see and if you like Baboons then a visit to Mole National Park is a must".Phil Hall , Rugby Union, Ghana
''I made a difference by encouraging children and adults to believe that everyone has some degree of talent... and to believe in that talent.''Stuart Garrett , Rugby Union, Ghana
''What they don’t have in skill, they certainly make up for in speed and determination. Ghana also has some very promising youngsters and it has been really exciting, and a real privilege, to share my knowledge of the game with them.''Doug Graham , Rugby Union, Ghana
“Coaching rugby to underprivileged children is a very rewarding experience. I am seriously considering coming back here and staying longer. It’s such a great place and there is so much to do!”Luke Norfolk , Rugby Union, South Africa
“I’ve had the best three months of my life! I would definitely recommend it! Thank you.”Philippa Tollit , Swimming, South Africa
"Being able to teach kids how to swim has to have been one of my most significant moments in life. From seeing 12 year old kids fearful of water on day one to being able to swim full lengths of the pool with confidence after 5 weeks was just incredible. You also know that you are giving these kids a gift for life".Neil Dennison , Swimming, Ghana
"I have had the best three months in Ghana ever! Working a living alongside local Ghanaians and seeing a completely different way of life will live with me forever. My project in helping kids learn how to swim was so rewarding too and it has really made me think about what I want to do when I get home with my future career and working with young people. Thanks to everyone involved and I look forward to coming back to my African home again one day."Sarah Dunbury , Swimming, Ghana