Recreation managers plan, organise, promote, provide and develop leisure and recreational facilities. Responsibility may be for one, or a number of facilities.
Also known as
- Arts/Recreation Manager
- Entertainments Manager
- Leisure/Recreation Manager
- Sports Manager
- Leisure Manager
- Duty Manager
Video: - Stephanie: Chief Executive
Video: - Lucy: House & Collections Manager
Video: - Lesley: Property Manager
As a Recreation Manager, you may be responsible for any one of a range of different facilities, including leisure centres, theme parks, bingo clubs or historic buildings.
Duties, responsibilities and skills are similar, although you will usually choose a field of work according to your personal interests, academic background and experience.
As a Recreation Manager, your duties are likely to include:
- staff supervision
- financial and budgetary management
- policy making and development planning
- handling any problems that arise on a day-to-day basis
Your exact duties will depend on the size and structure of your organisation as well as your level of seniority.
For example, in local authorities, your role will be to implement decisions that have been made at city or council level. Therefore, you might oversee the development of a new sports complex, think of a new activity or improve existing services.
Facilities and special events such as exhibitions, sports tournaments, play schemes and concerts need to be publicised. This can involve:
- arranging for the production, printing and distribution of leaflets and posters
- arranging for adverts to appear in the press
- visiting schools and community groups to give talks
Sometimes, you might undertake market research to find out what current users want, and to attract new users.
The daily running of any leisure facility needs careful organisation. As a Manager, you will be responsible for personnel matters such as recruitment, training, staff rotas, catering facilities and the maintenance of any equipment and buildings. You are also responsible for the health and safety management of your facilities.
As a Recreation Manager who is responsible for an area of countryside or historic property, you will have fewer visitors during the winter and use this time for forward planning, conservation work, revising written information and reorganising displays.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Recreation Manager, you will need:
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- organisational skills to manage human and physical resources
- strong time-management skills
- strong presentation and negotiating skills
- good general number skills
- some knowledge of information technology systems; you are very likely to need some IT skills yourself
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £19,500 - £21,000
- With experience: £23,500 - £30,000
- Senior Recreation Managers earn £33,000 - £38,000
Commercial employers may offer salaries made up of basic pay plus performance bonuses.
Hours of work
Recreation Managers work 37 hours a week. However, late finishes, weekend work and work on public holidays is often required.
Where could I work?
Opportunities for Recreation Managers occur throughout the UK.
Employers include local authorities, commercial organisations, charities and government-funded organisations such as English Heritage.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
This career can be entered after completing a relevant degree, foundation degree or HNC/HND in leisure and recreation management. Courses in business studies with options in leisure/recreational management are offered by several institutions.
Postgraduate courses are also available.
However, it is also useful to have gained experience of work in lower-level positions. In some organisations, it's possible to enter at a lower level and work your way up to a management position.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.
Entry as a Trainee Manager involves training on-the-job with part-time study towards relevant qualifications. Fully qualified Managers can take short courses in specific areas, to help further their development.
If you would like some training, there is a City & Guilds certificate and diploma in leisure management. This course has a range of units, which include:
- understanding how to lead a team in active leisure
- understanding how to manage health, safety and welfare in active leisure
- improve the customers experience in active leisure
- marketing in active leisure
- operating a swimming pool plant
- addressing performance problems affecting team members
- supervising and maintaining the equipment and facilities active leisure
Other courses could be available in your area.
Previous experience in a managerial role would be really useful for this career.
Progression can be to higher management positions, such as area or divisional manager, for example.
For entry to a degree course in leisure/recreation management, the usual requirement is:
- 2 A levels
- GCSEs (A*-C or 9-4) in 3 other subjects, including English and maths
Other qualifications, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds level 3 qualification (travel and tourism or leisure management would be a great subjects to choose), or the International Baccalaureate Diploma could also be considered.
Entry requirements for degree courses vary; check college/university websites very carefully.
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Business) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
Local government vacancies
myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies
Tel: 020 7632 2000
Sport Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Tel: 028 9038 1222
Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)
Tel: 01509 226474
Association for Physical Education (afPE)
Tel: 01905 855584
Publisher: The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844