Sport and fitness

The sport and fitness industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. It covers all aspects of sport and recreation from professional sport to exercise instruction, including work in leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, stadiums, and private sports clubs, as well as a range of outdoor activities.

Roughly 620,000 people work in this industry, in about 230,000 businesses and organisations throughout the country.

Sport is about more than just teams and competitionit’s all forms of physical activity that improve physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Sport can even help people form social relationships. Millions of people enjoy sports at community leisure centres, private health clubs, outward bound centres, and after-school clubs, and all of these need keen and motivated staff to make sure things run smoothly and safely, as well as to instruct, inspire, and keep an eye on people.

There are many roles on offer to suit different tastes and abilities. If you like working with people, then a career as a fitness instructor, coach or activity leader could prove rewarding. If football is your passion, you could help manage club facilities or work as an event marshal during matches. And for those who prefer to work quietly behind the scenes, operational services are needed to support every business and organisation in the sector. Increasingly, the government is relying on the industry to help fight illness and obesity. There’s a growing number of fitness club and leisure centre users, which means a growing number of employment vacancies. And investment is being poured into promoting sports and fitness and improving facilities from community to professional level. In fact, there’s never been a better time to start a career in the industry.

At a glance

  • Sport and fitness apprentices work as gym instructors, sports coaches, events marshalls, club managers, and more
  • 15% of all 16 to 18-year-olds starting an apprenticeship do so in the sport and fitness sector
  • There are more than 30,000 registered exercise professionals in the UK


  • Be fit and active
  • Have a keen interest in sports (a GCSE or A-level in PE could be useful)
  • Be a good team player
  • Have quick reactions and problem-solving capabilities
  • Be a good communicator
  • Be able to motivate and inspire
  • Understand the importance of nutrition

Useful contacts

SkillsActive—Sector skills council for active leisure, learning and well being

Apprenticeships in Sport and fitness

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Activity leadership/Outdoor programmes apprenticeship

The UK outdoors sector is vibrant, exciting and growing. It is particularly suited to those with a passion and enthusiasm

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Coaching apprenticeship (swimming and tennis)

The Coaching apprenticeship is designed for those who wish to gain a broad but solid foundation to allow them to

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Exercise & fitness and Personal training apprenticeship

The health and fitness industry is made up of private health clubs and gyms that are publicly run through local

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Leisure operations and management apprenticeship

Places with leisure and recreation facilities range from leisure and recreation centres to caravan and holiday parks. From swimming pools

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Playwork apprenticeship

Play is important in every child’s life, helping to develop valuable social skills that form the foundation of a healthy

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Spectator safety apprenticeship

Event stewards, marshals and ground safety officers are responsible for ensuring the health, safety and security of spectators attending large-scale

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Sporting excellence apprenticeship

This dedicated Advanced Level apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence has been designed to meet the needs of young and talented athletes

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Sports development apprenticeship

Sports development aims to improve access to sport and physical activity for people of all ages and abilities, to develop

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Supporting teaching and learning in physical education and school sport apprenticeship

The Supporting Teaching and Learning in Physical Education and School Sport apprenticeship is for anyone who wants to work with children,

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