Les looks after the health and fitness products for 36 centres in the London East region for GLL, a charitable social enterprise that provides community leisure and fitness facilities.
Tell us about your job
GLL works for the benefit of everyone: the public, the communities, the environment, our staff and our partners. I buy all the health and fitness products needed for all our centres, from dumbbells to fitness classes. I am also involved in building and refurbishing gyms, driving the business forward and finding ways to improve the customer /member experience.
How did you get into this job?
Luck! I have worked in the leisure industry at a number of different companies, from being a lifeguard and fitness instructor to sales and operations manager. My experience from working on the shop floor and taking opportunities to develop as and when they arose has allowed me to work my way through the ranks. I started as a service manager at GLL looking after one centre at Swiss Cottage, then went onto training and development of staff and now look after products for the 36 centres.
What skills do you need?
Everything: business skills, people skills, management skills and project skills.
What’s an average day like?
No such thing. But, today I have visited three of the 36 centres that I look after, completing services audits on two and reviewing a current £260,000 gym refurbishment project for the third. Then I attended a worker board meeting – GLL is staff led, staff owned and I am on the board. Tomorrow I will be office based, reviewing last month’s fitness classes KPIs and placing orders for new kit.
What is the most unusual thing you have bought?
I had to buy a three-bedroom flat once. It is above one of our gyms, and we rent it out to staff. I bought all the furniture for it.
In my job you need to be open and flexible to change –
you have to be fluid in your approach and thinking.
What are the career prospects in this job?
They are down to you. You have to know where your skills can be used and be open to try something different.
My next target is to launch another product from the start and develop it so it sits as one of our ‘Better’ brand.
Tell us something interesting about your business
GLL exists to make community services and spaces better for everyone. That means providing access to quality community leisure and fitness facilities – and more – at a price everyone can afford. We manage 258 public sport and leisure centres, 101 libraries in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations, and we’re adding more all the time. We have been awarded both the Social Enterprise Mark and the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award. We’ve supported TeamGB since the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and now run the prestigious Copper Box Arena and Aquatics Centre for the benefit of the whole community.