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Gillian Oakland

Operations Manager

Kirklees Active Leisure

Gillian Oakland joined Kirklees Active Leisure when she was 17. She now works as an Operations Manager for the company

How have you developed in your career?

“I’ve been with Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) for 14 years. I started as a casual lifeguard at Dewsbury Sports Centre when I was 17, and worked as a lifeguard and swimming teacher throughout university. After finishing my education I started working towards a management position. KAL supported me through my career progression, with various courses and CPDs. After two years working as a duty manager working at a small community site, I gained a position on the KAL Management Academy working towards the position of pperations manager. I have now worked as an Operations Manager for several years. During that time KAL has helped me gain a Level 5 Management Diploma, as well various leisure management specific qualifications such as NPMQ and IOSH.”

What are your goals?

My current goal is to successfully manage a new product for KAL. I currently oversee the operations of three centres within the Kirklees district, including Batley Sports and Tennis Centre, which is currently undergoing work that will see half of the Tennis Centre converted into a soft play facility and Tag Active arena. I’m really looking forward to being involved in this project, which aims to utilise space and get all levels of the community more active.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love the variety, every day is different. I also love working with our customers, getting to know them as individuals and helping them to achieve their goals, whether it be to run a marathon or just to simply spend some social time in our facilities.

What changes would you like to see in the industry?

I would like the perception that careers in leisure are only appropriate for young people challenged. I believe that leisure is for everyone and working in the industry isn't just for younger generations as a stop gap, you can create a worthwhile and fulfilling career in this ever-evolving industry.

What has been the proudest/most memorable moment of your career?

Last year I was nominated for the KAL Leadership award by my staff. This was an extremely proud moment for me, because I feel that you’re only as good as your team, to have their trust and faith in me as a leader felt like a great achievement.

I love working with our customers, getting to know them, and helping them to achieve their goals.

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