Sport Development Manager
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

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Paul C– Lee Valley


My name is Paul C I’m the sports development manager for Lee Valley regional park authority.


My job entails working very closely with community, supporting a vast array of sports venues we have, some of which are on Olympic park. And just generally getting more people more active, and more into sport and physically fit.


We’re 26 miles long, we start in Hertfordshire and come all the way up to East London. And we own a number of open spaces, areas of scientific interest, and along dotted along that 26 miles is a number of sports venues, from athletic centres, through to horse riding, ice skating rinks, and onto Olympic park where we have the Lee Valley VeloPark and the Lee Valley hockey and tennis centre.


The employment opportunities that Lee Valley regional park authority can offer is wide and varied. It could be anything from a catering system, through to customer care assistant, through to management team, so duty managers, venue management. Sports coaches in the various sports we offer, we’re always looking for sports coaches with the relevant qualifications. It’s so varied the types of work you’d be doing, it’s not monotonous it’s one day you could be taking a group of young people on a coaching session, the next you could be I don’t know supporting a major event such as the World Cup coming up for track cycling.


The types of people we look to recruit and employ are basically people who are really committed to their job. People that are willing to offer a quality experience for every customer that comes through the door. The obvious things in terms of presentable, time keeping, approachable, and flexible and dependability goes hand in hand. Ideally a combination of experience and qualifications is what we look for. But anyone really that’s just gone that extra mile.


If it’s a sports coach for example then obviously the national governing body qualifications is a must, depending on the kind of types of jobs that we’re looking for such as a cycling coach, it’ll be a minimum level 2 British cycling qualification.


If someone wants to go into sports development, specifically then it’ll be a minimum sports development degree qualification, plus experience as well. So it’s quite challenging but you have to, you know we understand that people start from a lower level have to work up. So, we have taken people on at work experience placements as well and it’s good to see that those people mature and go on to bigger and better things. Whether it’s with the organisation or with someone else.


We run an apprenticeship scheme, and we have a number of people who’ve actually gone through that apprenticeship scheme and have not got employment with the authority.


What was I like at school? I was into my sport, but less academic. But yeah, sport through and through it’s through my family, my dad was a professional footballer, I continued that I’ve played a lot of football and obviously tried to find something that I would enjoy.


Initially I started in working at a venue in a sports, at a leisure centre, local leisure centre just doing life guarding. Progressed to duty manager and then after about 2 or 3 years working in kind of venue management kind of thought, this isn’t quite for me. Decided I needed to find something else so, found about something called sports development which I liked the sound of.


What I didn’t have was the correct qualifications so I went back to university, did a sports development degree just up the road in East London.


Main kind of points I would strongly recommend that anyone do, is try to get as much experience in employment as they can it could be volunteering it could be working for different organisations, mightn’t necessarily be in sport but anything really that shows you’ve had a commitment along the road. I strongly recommend that an individual tries to get a named person so whether it’s in a local authority or a leisure centre, try and get one person that they can actually speak to and kind of portray where they want to go in their career and see whether that person’s willing to support them along the way.


End of Paul C


Paul enjoys encouraging people to be more active through the range of venues owned by Lee Valley Park. He is looking for people who are committed to providing a great experience to everyone who comes through the door. When he was younger Paul loved sport, his first role was a life guard and then he became a leisure centre manager. He went back to university later in life and obtained a sports development degree.

More information about Leisure and sports managers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

43%  male 
57%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Leisure and sports managers organise, direct and co-ordinate the activities and resources required for the provision of sporting, artistic, theatrical and other recreational and amenity services.
Both graduate and non-graduate entry is possible. Off- and on-the-job training is provided. NVQs/SVQs in relevant areas are available at Levels 3 and 4. Professional qualifications may also be required for some posts.
  • 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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