Meet a Pool Facilities Manager

Interviews with real people in real roles across our industry.

Name: Paul Parker
Role: Facilities Administrator at Centenary Pool, Spring Hill
Qualifications: Advanced Diploma in Leisure Management (UK), plus general fitness and business course qualifications

Interested in finding out more about a career as a Facilities Manager? Read our Career Guide.

Q&A with Paul Parker

I started off in the industry when I was a 17 year-old back in 2001/2002. Over time, I moved into supervision roles before having the opportunity to manage private health clubs and work under some entrepreneurial type of people. All of these years later, I’m still in the industry, but I’ve moved into the aquatics sector. 

I’m passionate about making a difference and building high calibre teams who are customer-focused.

Back in England, I did an Advanced Diploma in Leisure Management. I’ve also got my fitness qualifications, and I have completed a few business courses to help me with my management positions.

I really enjoy connecting with people. I always think when you manage a facility like this, you never know anyone until you have a conversation with them. Building relationships with customers, members, and staff is definitely my favourite part of the job.

I think some people don’t think that you can make a career out of this industry, but it is amazing how many people started off through traineeships or casual jobs who have had the ability to progress through. It can definitely be a career path. I think the skills you learn on site can carry you into any career in the future. 

You need to have good emotional intelligence and you need to understand people. It’s something you can develop over time with a bit of experience and maturity. If you can build connections with your team, lead by example, and elevate/promote employees from within, then you can create a team of leaders. 

I do believe in coaching staff versus managing staff. I believe putting your arm around them, supporting them, and guiding them along the way gets a much better outcome for the team and the individual. 

I employ on attitude. I don’t employ because of skills or experience. If you come in with a good, positive attitude, where you’re willing to learn and make a difference, that’s my number one. There are some qualifications that you need to work in this industry, but your attitude is number one. 

Look at this environment you get to work in every day. We are very fortunate to work in an industry where people choose to spend their disposable time and income. 

We’re fortunate on a site like this. We have babies learning to swim, where they can then progress to our squad programs. They might also use our health clubs, they might end up working for us or even swimming in the Olympics. There’s a whole range of different people who come through our sites, and I think that’s a pretty special thing to be a part of.

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