• Background South West

  • career-training

    Sector Overview

    Sport & Fitness

    • About 20% of fitness employees are self employed

    • Almost 30% of fitness staff are aged 16-24

    • Sports Coaches start on around £12,000 a year

    • Physiotherapists often tour with sports teams, sometimes working up to 16 hours a day

    • There are 3,100 private fitness clubs and facilities in the UK, with over 4.3 million members

    The sport and fitness industry isn’t just for athletes and professional footballers, a career can suit anyone who enjoys sport at any level, participant or spectator. Because the industry is so broad, there is a job to match anyone’s personality and skill-set.

    Many sporting positions require you to be outside, working with professional sports-people and getting involved with training and organisation. A level of fitness is often expected, though there are plenty of positions that don’t require you to be active as well. Fitness jobs are often located in gyms and spas, though you might find yourself working as a sports therapist at a local club, or as a freelance personal trainer.


    Sport & Fitness

    Personal Training

    People hire Personal Trainers (or PT’s as they are commonly known) so they can have one on one training sessions tailored to suit their needs. You’ll need a wide knowledge of physiology and the body so that you can cover all possible areas that a person might ask for. As well as just training them, you will be giving them nutritional advice and therapies such as warm downs, stretches and massages to help the client relax after a workout.


    Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Martin Johnson and the like all started out as coaches before they became successful managers. Coaching is all about using your skills and knowledge to guide others as they start out their sports careers and this could be coaching at grassroots level with an U9’s basketball team, right up to working for the big sports clubs in England.

    Outdoor Activities

    There are a whole host of outdoor pursuits that you can work with. Sports such as White Water Rafting, Paintballing, Go-Karting, Zip-Lining, Abseiling and Caving all require instructors and supervisors to ensure everybody has a safe and enjoyable time. Instructors can also coach people who are interested in making a career out of their sport.

    Spectator Support

    Every professional sports match requires stewards to maintain health and safety, help people with queries and act in case of an emergency. NVQs are available in spectator safety, where you’ll learn skills such as conflict management, first aid and dealing with emergencies.


    The operations section of Sport and Fitness is important; it’s all about the day to day running of a centre, gym or facility. Whether that’s maintaining the equipment, keeping everything clean and hygienic, taking bookings and sorting memberships or managing the whole place, this sector wouldn’t run without responsible, organised people behind the scenes.

    What can I expect to earn?

    Salaries start out between £12,000 and can rise to £25,000 as you gain experience. Gym Managers can earn upwards of £35,000.


    Sport & Fitness


    With over 48,000 different companies in this sector, an Apprenticeship might be the easier route to take to get into a very tough sector. Competition for places in this industry is super high, so having one foot in the door and earning as you learn could be a great way to go. Here are the frameworks you can expect to see in this industry and all Apprenticeships result in a Level 2 BTEC, Diploma or NVQ.
    Leisure Operations • Coaching • Instructing Exercise and Fitness • Activity Leadership

    Advanced Apprenticeships

    These are the equivalent to A-Levels and can usually be joined after completing the associated Intermediate Apprenticeship. They are ideal for people who want a practical role as they learn while gaining valuable employment experience. Here are some of the Apprenticeship Frameworks for this sector and all of these will result in a Level 3 qualification such as a BTEC, a Diploma or an NVQ.
    Sporting Excellence • Sports Development • Leisure Management


    A-Levels are the most popular gateway into university and are sought after by employers. Here are some of the relevant A-Levels for this sector:
    P.E. • Sports Studies • Biology

    Foundation Degrees

    A Foundation Degree combines university lifestyle with practical, hands on work. It’s sort of like a cross between an Apprenticeship and an Honours Degree. They are often used as gateway qualifications to a full time Degree as they count towards the first two years of an Honours Degree. They usually take two years to complete and you’ll be both in the work place and on the university campus. Example degrees include Physiology, Nutrition and Sports Studies.

    More Info

    Sport & Fitness

    Case Study

    Sport & Fitness

    Study Sport at Cornwall College

    For those that have a love of sport, why not turn a passion into a career?

    Whether you want to help other people to stay fit and healthy, lead outdoor activities, run a sports centre or improve your own performance to professional level, career options in the industry are varied and exciting.

    Studying at Cornwall College will give you the chance to develop your knowledge and gain additional useful qualifications, such as first aid and coaching awards. Get involved in a whole host of sports and adventurous activities.

    We offer a range of sports courses. Whether you are about to leave school or wish to study at degree level, you will be supported at our campuses in Camborne, St Austell, Duchy College and Falmouth Marine School.

    The equipment we use is state-of-the-art and is designed to get you ready for the workplace. Our sports excellence centres are used by professional athletes and sport associations in the region, such as world champions, Falmouth Gig Rowing Club.

    While studying with us we will make sure you gain all the theoretical and technical knowledge you need to build a career in coaching, nutrition, physiotherapy, sports psychology or teaching.