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Spas and Leisure Centres

Leisure Activities


Spa and leisure breaks have become very popular in the last few years. More and more people want a relaxing holiday to unwind from the stresses of everyday life.

Most hotels now have a spa and leisure centre attached to them – think Maldron Hotels - and there are lots of independent ones too, such as Westwood or Jackie Skelly. The career opportunities available in this field range from leisure centre managers to reception staff, spa therapists to hairdressers.   

Find out more about working in Spa and Leisure

The Workplace:

Spas and leisure centres, being places where people come to wind down, generally have quite a relaxed vibe, and people who are hired to work there are usually calm, positive people with an interest in people’s well-being and a healthy lifestyle. Mostly spas and leisure centres have quite a small core staff, including the managers, receptions staff and one or two permanent personal trainers and spa therapists. The remaining people working in the gym will be retained on short-term contract e.g. fitness monitors and fitness instructors. Most spa staff are free-lance therapists, who just come to work when there is a demand or clients book for the particular type of therapy they are trained in. Spa and leisure centre employees have comfortable, simple uniforms because they need freedom of movement to perform therapies and personal training.

The Career Path:

As a spa therapist you provide guest care and service – making guests feel special and pampered. Usually spa therapists are well-groomed, with a healthy appearance. You will need education in anatomy, physiology and counselling to work in this area and can go on to specialise in certain kinds of treatments, such as massage, facials or holistic therapies.

They also learn about the products that are used in the spa, so they’re able to recommend and sell products to clients, increasing revenues for the company. They can also be involved in stock takes and re-ordering and will be responsible for helping to maintain the appearance of the cabins/ treatment rooms they work in.  Once you have a qualification as a spa or beauty therapist, you can also do short courses to qualify in additional types of therapy.

A spa manager must oversee the day to day running of the spa in line with the strategy of the organisation. As a spa manager, you’re responsible for co-ordinating all spa staff, e.g. reception, therapists and cleaners. You must also ensure service standards are maintained, health and safety procedures are being met and costs are controlled. Knowledge of basic accounting practices are necessary and used day-to-day. You may also be involved with evolving and updating the products and services offered by the spa, providing staff training and writing promotional material.
To be a Fitness Instructor you must be trained and accredited. An instructor educates people on the correct use of equipment, organises classes, carries out fitness assessments and creates personal fitness plans, undertakes reception duties (if needed) and general administration. They must be fit, enthusiastic, good communicators, have a positive approach and the ability to motivate people.

The Gym Manager will oversee the fitness instructors and the day to day running of the gym. They must liaise with clients and always be up to date on health and safety guidelines and on the newest fitness techniques and equipment, as well as the legal responsibilities of the gym to any injured clients. They must be fit, healthy and enthusiastic in order to help promote the gym.

Spa Therapist
Spa Manager
Fitness Instructor
Gym Manager

How to Get Started:

One year courses:

There are one-year courses in Colleges of Further Education all over the country that will train you to become a fitness instructor or a spa therapist. An example of as course that you can do is Tourism Leisure at Colaiste Ide College of Further Education. /P>

Two/Three year courses:

There are two-year courses in Institutes of Technology, for example, in sports and recreation.  There are also degree courses in Recreation, Leisure and Spa Management in various Institutes of Technology, with application via the CAO. And example is the new Spa Management course in Athlone Institute of Technology


Institutes of Technology