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Graduate Recreation Jobs

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          Helping you find a career in the recreation industry

          Careers in the recreation sector focus on helping people enjoy activities in their spare time. This can involve planning and delivering events, managing sites and facilities or hands-on customer services.

          In the recreation industry you could choose to work in either the public or private sector. There will be opportunities within your local government, or national park; or alternatively there are private establishments such as casinos and racetracks. Across the sector there are opportunities to work ‘front-of-house' (directly with customers) or in a head office function (e.g. Sales, Finance, Marketing…). Most businesses in this space are small-to-medium sized (SMEs).

          Recreation (particularly in the gambling industry) quite often blends customer service with technical and commercial responsibilities. For instance, as a croupier in a casino you would look after and welcome guests to a table/game, as well as ensuring that bets are made and paid fairly, according to company policies. Working in leisure centre management will give you exposure to a mixture of commercial and administrative challenges and opportunities, as you will be responsible for overseeing the activities on offer, implementing company policy at a local level and dealing with budgetary issues.

          If working for a national park, you might find yourself helping to execute a local policy plan for a specific location, entailing consideration for environmental, commercial and social factors. One of the main draws to working in this area of the recreation sector is the opportunity to enhance and improve high profile national sites and areas of natural heritage.

          Challenges and themes common to all areas of the recreation sector include seasonal peaks and troughs in business, and relatively low salaries. However, these challenges are offset through the passion for customer satisfaction, relatively high flexibility in working hours and greater individual responsibilities than is typical in many other sectors.

          Find out more
          • FAQs
          Skills & interests required for a career in Recreation

          To work in the gambling or leisure industries, you will need to be customer-focused, responsible and able to think on your feet. The work itself is usually on a shift pattern and quite often you will be most busy in the evenings or at weekends. It is important that you are:

          Focused on customer service A capable problem-solver Polite and well-presented Able to do quick and accurate mental maths (in the gambling industry) Comfortable learning on your feet

          Working in parks/environmental management requires slightly different skills and interests, which are more focused on balancing a range of environmental and social considerations. You will need to work with a variety of local stakeholders, as well as with national or regional agencies and local councils. People involved in this industry tend to be passionate about the cultural and environmental role which our green spaces play.

          Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Recreation

          In head office roles in leisure and the gambling industries, particularly within larger national or multinational organisations, there are career opportunities in core functions (sales, finance, marketing, etc.). Often progression will involve a mixture of formal (e.g. professional qualifications) and informal training.

          Outside of large head offices, new hires will typically work in front-line, customer service positions from the outset. Rates of progression will be more varied, depending on the size of an organisation and the budget available for training.

          Roles in parks/environmental management are potentially the most varied in the recreation sector. Positions can either be as permanent members of a team, or based on fixed-term contracts (e.g. 1-2 years) for the duration of a particular project. Typical progression may entail going from policy/planning assistant to planner/manager levels, with different gradations at each level.

          Tips for getting into the field

          Book a session with your career advice department to discuss your interest in the sector and talk through your interest in it.

          Previous work experience in the sector can be vital to securing your first role. Many larger organisations will offer structured internships or work experience programmes, while smaller ones will also offer work experience opportunities.

          Graduates looking to work in parks/environmental management may also want to consider volunteering at a related charity or local organisation.

          How much can graduates earn in Recreation?

          Salaries in the recreation sector are often lower than comparable roles in other industries (although larger casinos and bookmakers can often pay higher salaries for head office positions or experienced roles).

          Typically, graduates in head office functions in the gambling sector will start on £20,000 to £25,000 per annum. After 4-5 years of progression, employees in head offices (or with regional responsibilities) will typically earn £40,000 to £45,000. Graduates working directly in casinos will earn lower - typically an entry-level croupier will earn £15,000 to £18,000, while a casino manager can earn £25,000 to £30,000.

          In leisure centre management, the average starting salary is £18,000, which can rise to £25,000 to £30,000 with a few years' experience. The General Manager of a medium-to-large leisure centre can earn up to £35,000.

          Parks/environment management positions will typically follow strict, public sector salary bands, which can vary across the country (particularly, salaries will be higher in London). You could typically begin on £18,000 to £20,000, rising to £30,000 to £35,000. Roles in this sector typically also come with generous pension provision.

          What qualifications do I need for a career in Recreation?

          While working across the recreation sector does not typically require an undergraduate degree, in practice a degree in a related subject (either business/marketing/finance or - for parks/environment management - geography) can boost your chances of securing a higher-level role.

          Read more about the Recreation industry

          Recreation industry bodies