General Manager
Virgin Active

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Seb B

00:00:03 I’m the General Manager at Virgin Active, Mill Hill East. My name is Seb, Seb B, and I’ve been working at this club now about the last year and two months. In being a health club manager, in fact, we’re promoting health and wellbeing. You know, I know probably about fifteen hundred different members here at this club. They probably all know me by my first name, and the changes that I see in my members spurs me on. So I’m actually very content where I am.

00:00:34 I had no plans, in fact, to work in the leisure industry, particularly not in sort of health clubs. My first ambition, my first love, was to join the Royal Navy. I was going to become a mine clearance officer and explode mines for a living. It’s a trade that my family have been involved in over the last five generations of my family, and so for me there was a strong sense of duty and wanting to be a part of a bigger picture, and for me, in fact, mine clearance was all about helping a community overseas and sort of supporting change in a positive manner.

00:01:14 I loved school. I wasn’t a big achiever at school. I was very sociable. I was always up to no good, you know, quite disruptive. I passed all my qualifications, you know, but I was never a big achiever. After talking to the careers advisor in the Royal Navy, in fact, they suggested that I get my A levels and then from A levels go on to get a degree. The subject wasn’t so important. It was just the discipline of actually going to university and studying. So from there I went to Chichester University and read history.

00:01:51 Going to university is a real mind opener. You know, you have to make new friends, you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re away from home, you have to probably wash clothes for the first time, and have to cook for yourself, so, yes, it was fantastic. My first week was absolutely fab, having to make new friends at university, and then build a life up for yourself away from home.

00:02:15 So I went to university, got a history degree and then joined the Royal Navy, but in my first few weeks I ruptured the ligaments in my right knee, which is a knee injury. There’s a person actually had a heart attack. Through having a heart attack, they went into a fit, and whilst having a fit they crushed my knee, and then as we delivered mouth to mouth and CPR they managed to survive but it really damaged my knee, and so that was probably the one incident that, you know, affected my life and changed the fact of where I was going to go.

00:02:49 I thought that I could rebuild the knee. I thought that I could go through rehab, but the damage that I’d actually done to the knee, and the rehab that I’d need in order to get it back up and running, would just take far too long and so it wasn’t a career I could pursue, unfortunately. So, yes, I was actually devastated.

00:03:06 Luckily enough, because I was working for Virgin Active, I could fall back and go back to Virgin Active and continue where I’d left off. I love working for health clubs. I thought ‘I’ll stay with this and I’ll work my way up.’ Over the years, over the last nine years, I’ve just grown through the ranks. I kind of feel that things are meant to be, so you have to get up and dust yourself off and find a different path.

00:03:45 My parents are immensely proud of me, you know. I bring them over to the health club to have a coffee, and, you know, they’re amazed at where I am. In fact, when I was at school, like I said, I was off the path really. I was always on report, and so for them to see me in my health club, in fact, managing a large team, you know, they’re very proud. They never expected it to happen but they’re very proud.

00:04:00 End

Seb B is General Manager of a Virgin Active health club. He enjoys his job but it wasn’t the career he planned. After graduating he joined the Royal Navy. He had only been there a few weeks when someone fell on him, rupturing the ligaments on his right knee. He had to have a major rethink.

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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