Our apprenticeship stories

Read more on how they've worked for our team

Apprenticeships have been a great way for many of our colleagues progress through their fitness careers. Read about some of the success stories from the Places Leisure team below.

Paul Hammond - Fitness Instructor

Paul has been with Places Leisure just under three years, starting as a cleaner working 30 hours per week. Paul is a keen marathon runner and enjoys his fitness which can be seen by the number of medals he has won in his picture!

Paul asked to do his level 2 fitness instructor apprenticeship which they supported him on, allowing one day a week to work on the gym floor helping towards his qualification.

Paul passed his level 2 with flying colours and has now moved roles from a cleaner to a full-time fitness instructor.

Paul is passionate about continuing to do more training and he is currently doing his PT level 3 training with Lifetime.

Tony Crafer, Contract Manager for Dover District Leisure Centre nominated Paul as he is a passionate, dedicated member of his team and wanted to celebrate his achievements.

Paul Hammond

Rich Smart - Technical Manager

Having done a few courses through lifetime now and even though covid did its’ best to pre long one of them. I have definitely increased my knowledge in management and training myself and others in the gym. I also gained confidence after gaining the new qualifications.

I originally did my Level 2 fitness, which helped me with my training in the gym as I was quite new to it, my fitness growing up was mainly based around cardio like football and mountain biking. Working out initially seemed a bit mundane to me, however, now I have knowledge of what I am doing, it has become a talking point, making it not only a trip to the gym, but also a lot more sociable than before. I have also covered gym shifts and taken a fitness class, which is something I would not have done before, and I found it really enjoyable.

I had a break in between the fitness qualifications while I did my Level 3 Team Leader course. This has helped me with my relationships with colleagues at work and understanding the best ways to manage people in many different work situations. Emotional intelligence was one of the most interesting new subjects (to me) covered in this course, and I have become far more aware of how important it is to have healthy relationships with people, not only at work, but in day-to-day life as well.

Now heading into my third course, Level 3 Fitness, I hope this will open another door in my career. I would also like to use it in conjunction with my swimming qualifications. I am looking forward to using and sharing knowledge in the gym.

Daniel Gatehouse

I joined Places Leisure in 2017 as the Regional Catering Manager, supporting the catering operation across the Places Leisure estate.

Since then, I have had the fantastic opportunity of completing a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level 5 in Operational Management and I am now about a third way through a Level 7 qualification in leadership. Both courses have been very challenging but also very rewarding, helping me within my role to develop my knowledge, skills, and behaviours in a range of areas.

I have been supported throughout these courses by Places Leisure as well as by Chris Cregg, Head of Catering and Retail in being able to achieve this.

I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to develop their professional experience to consider an NVQ with Places Leisure as a possible route.

Daniel Gatehouse
Jamie Cranwell

Jamie Cranwell - Fitness Instructor

I have always enjoyed working out myself, getting involved with resistance training, cardiovascular endurance performances such as long-distance running events, and several different combat sports such as competing in Karate tournaments for four years, wrestling classes and boxing for three years. With this you meet a lot of different people at different levels, and naturally I found myself helping others along their journeys too. Through the years of diving into my passion for fitness and nutrition I have developed a love for assisting and guiding others through similar strategies I used to obtain success within maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I have wanted to be a personal trainer for a long time and decided to go on to the Level 2 Fitness Instructor course, having completed the qualification I have now started the Level 3 PT to train clients.
The main three areas I would say the course has helped develop are the understanding of the human body with anatomy and physiology, training points of the client, and general motivational language to keep them pushing.

These courses have given me the fundamental knowledge and experience working in a gym environment, along with the necessary qualifications to work in the gym and or fitness arenas.

I would advise future apprentices to definitely take the chance to go on a course if it is something you are looking to use to help further your career. I have developed several different skills on the Level 2 Fitness Instructor course and Level 3 Personal Trainer course, most importantly for me the confidence and ability to train any client to maximise their time training to reach their desired goal, whether it be for general health, to lose weight, build muscle or for it to be a specific sport-based goal. I have also learned a lot of conversational skills such as persuasive and motivating language, and the important ability to build trust and rapport with the client.

Jack Harris - Operations Manager

Jack was keen to answer our questions, to share how apprenticeships have really helped him and how they can help others.

1. What made you want to study an Apprenticeship?
Doing an apprenticeship meant that I could gain more knowledge in the industry and could continue to earn and learn on the job at the same time

2. What three areas would you say you have developed the most so far in your apprenticeships?
Developing my leadership skills, presenting a power point, and talking to a group. All of which have helped me gain confidence.

3. How has it supported your professional goals?
When I started the apprenticeship, I was Duty Manager when I ended it, I was an Operations Manager.

4. What advice would you give to future apprentices?
Dedicate time each week to complete work, do not be afraid to ask questions and most importantly, implement everything you have learned.

5. Reflecting before you did your apprenticeship, what new skills/behaviours have you learnt? And how do you use them?
I have gained a lot from the apprenticeship. Key areas for me are prioritising tasks, being able to approach customers in a different way and overall, it has just made me more motivated.

6. What does that future look like for you?
Continue to gain as much knowledge as I can and progress through the company

Jack Harris
Same Elliott & John Evans

Sam Elliott and John Evans -Wyre Forest Leisure Centre

We asked both Sam and Elliott the following questions;

1. What motivated you to want to do an apprenticeship?
Sam – The course seemed really interesting
John – The thought of working and learning

2. What three areas would you say you have developed the most so far in your apprenticeships?
Sam – CPR skills, Team player and improved confidence
John – Team player, First Aid skills and a better cleaner

3. Is it supporting your professional/personal goals?
Sam – It is helping me develop skills and improving my options for the future
John – Yes, definitely

4. What advice would you give to future apprentices?
Sam – Try hard
John – Have good people skills and be social

5. Reflecting before you did your apprenticeship, what new skills/behaviours have you learnt? And how do you use them?
Sam – First aid and CPR skills
John –How to keep our site in a good condition

6. What does that future look like for you?
Sam – A career at Wyre Forest leisure centre
John – Becoming the best I can be in this company.