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Leisure, Sport and Tourism

The leisure, sport and tourism industries offer a very wide range of jobs. Most have the aim of helping people to enjoy their leisure time. Career opportunities are available in:

> leisure centre work, for example as a manager, assistant or lifeguard coaching and instructing various different leisure pursuits, such as horse riding, outdoor activities, yoga, fitness or a specific sport

> professional sport, for example as a footballer, horse-racing jockey or rugby player
entertainment and gambling, for example working in cinemas, theme parks, fairgrounds, betting shops, casinos or bingo clubs

> travel and tourism, for example as a holiday representative, holiday centre manager, tour manager, tourist information centre assistant or travel agent.

Working conditions vary. Some jobs are based indoors, in offices, shops, gymnasiums, sports halls or cinemas, while others, in areas such as horse riding, instruction in outdoor activities and fairground work, are largely based outdoors. Some jobs call for large amounts of physical training and activity.

Most people in leisure, sport and tourism work irregular hours that can often involve shift, evening, weekend and bank holiday work. A number of jobs, particularly in tourism, are seasonal.

Employers include large leisure companies, tour operators, tourist boards, local authorities, leisure centres, health and fitness clubs, hotels and sports clubs. In England, the sports, recreation, health, fitness and outdoor pursuits sectors employ about 375,000 people; the travel and tourism industry employs over 100,000; the gambling industry employs around 73,000, while around 43,000 people are employed in the self-catering accommodation and holiday parks industry. There are jobs in leisure, sport and tourism throughout the UK although, obviously, many jobs relating to the travel, tourism and holiday sectors are concentrated in towns and regions that are popular tourist destinations.

An ability to communicate well with people and a helpful attitude are important in most of these jobs. Organisational and teamwork skills are often required, and sometimes good business skills. A professional sportsperson needs to have an exceptionally high level of skill and be totally dedicated to their sport.

Jobs in these industries have very different entry requirements. Some demand specific qualifications while others require no formal qualifications. There are many courses that can help prepare for entry to these areas of work, ranging from GCSEs, A levels, or equivalent, through to degrees and postgraduate qualifications. The Diploma in sport and active leisure and the Diploma in travel and tourism may be relevant for some jobs.

Much of the training is on the job. Many people also work towards work-related qualifications, such as NVQs or awards from bodies such as ISPAL, the professional body for the sport, parks and leisure industries. Training for some jobs is available through Apprenticeships, for example in active leisure and learning, and travel and tourism services.

Many jobs offer the opportunity for promotion to supervisory or managerial levels. There are plenty of opportunities to work abroad and in some jobs it is possible to become self-employed