00:00:03 My name is Laura, Laura H. I am a Service Manager for Virgin Active in Mayfair. The main role of a service manager is to be at the member’s beck and call, so it’s all about customer service, the whole member journey, going that extra mile to provide a good environment for the member to be in, and also to help out in every department within the club, whether it be with cleaning, the cleanliness and standards of the club, the banking, ordering all the supplies in for the club, from cleaning products to staplers and paper. It’s a varied, fun job.
00:00:42 When I was at school, I wanted to be a singer and a dancer. I come from a very musical background. My whole family are singers and actors on the Edinburgh professional scene. I got a place in a stage school at the age of sixteen and I moved down to London at the age of seventeen. It was a three-year intensive course – ballet a nine o’clock every morning and varied classes throughout the day, so it was hard work.
00:01:07 What I learned from stage school was you can have a song, you can take a song and sing it, but you kind of leaned to take direction on that song and make it into a show, if you want, you know, make that song come alive. We also learned, which I thought was very beneficial, was the competition. There was three hundred girls in the college, so it was manic but it got you right into that competition, so it was a true picture of what was going to happen when you graduated, I suppose.
00:01:37 I suppose my ultimate dream would just be to be in the West End, to have a lead role in a big musical. I love ‘We will Rock You’ things like that. I tended to get down all the rounds but didn’t get the job, so it was frustrating but I knew I would get there at some point, but then it kind of changed.
00:01:57 I realise that a lot of actors and people on the stage have other jobs too. Obviously, you’ve got your whole day to use, or some of them do, so I thought I’d go and get another career to fall back on, and that’s when I thought about going into the gyms. Gyms are always something that appealed to me, so I got a qualification that would allow me to teach classes, and worked in the gym and loved it. Of course you’re getting the exercise, you’re getting the buzz from the classes, you’re getting the great feedback from the members, and the not so great feedback, and I suppose that’s where the customer service bit came in.
00:02:32 Yes, I began to take on jobs out with my job role, so I would be the one that made the posters for the members’ evenings and did more of the admin side. I’ve always been a very organised person, so they saw that. Even though I wasn’t so good at the personal training side, they saw that I did my class as well, and I could do this as well, so I went into more of a duty manager role, so a bit more responsibility.
00:02:54 My husband is doing a lot of work for the Olympics, so in 2012, depending on the market, the housing market, we’ll pack up and move to Edinburgh, so about in another three years. We spend a lot of our spare time exercising. I do a lot of running, a lot of swimming. We ski, and also interior design. We love, obviously, designing our house. It’s a bit different from exercise but it’s our way of kind of relaxing. I suppose going to theatre in London.
00:03:29 My family have always been behind me in what I do. They would have loved me to do musical theatre, and would keep pushing me and keep telling me to go to the auditions and, you know, not to give up, which I did but it is harder… When you’re in it down here, it is harder when your mum is telling you… She’s not really… They don’t really understand what it’s like. It is hard. I do still want to, and have hopes and dreams to do it, and I will do it, but just not at this time in my life.
Laura H is a Service Manager at a Virgin Active health club in Mayfair. She has all the qualifications for a career in musical theatre, but couldn’t get enough work. So she trained as a fitness instructor and started working at the health club. She hopes to sell up her house in London in Olympics year and move back to her native Edinburgh, maybe to resume her career on the stage.
More information about Leisure and sports managers
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Organises timetable of activities/schedule of programmes;
- Ensures that facilities are kept clean and in good condition and that appropriate health and safety requirements are adhered to;
- Keeps abreast of new trends and developments in recreational activities and arranges exhibitions, theatrical productions, concerts, demonstrations etc.;
- Advises on the facilities available and promotes publicity in relation to shows, games, races, new theme parks, etc.;
- Determines financial, staffing, material and other short- and long-term needs;
- Recruits, supervises and trains staff;
- Ensures custody of all cash receipts and organises regular stock checks.
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