Exploring how a young person begins their fitness career in London

Recently I have become more engaged with how young people in the UK are pursuing a career in the physical activity economy. I have been learning more about the different gym instructor and personal training qualification pathways and then that critical first job offer, once suitably qualified.

How young and newly qualified exercise and fitness staff work with an organisation has changed significantly over time with many now working as freelancers while others are offered salaried roles or a blend of the two.

Operating as a freelancer immediately after qualifying, effectively starting your own business, can be challenging so the option of employed roles is critical. From my perspective, it allows an individual to develop experience and craft their skills with the safety net provided by a monthly salary. However, I have noticed that some of these current entry-level roles in London are set at or just above the legal National Living Wage (£8.91/hour for someone aged 23 or over) while asking for a Level 3 personal training qualification.

It is recommended that a more appropriate ‘Real Living Wage’ for London is £11.05/hour due to higher living costs.

Of course, people choose to work with a physical activity organisation because they are passionate about the difference they can make, but passion alone does not pay the bills.

Bringing up the topic of pay during a pandemic is sensitive, but how do you see this challenge to attract, develop and retain young talent?