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About Parkwood Leisure
Parkwood Outdoors has a vision to encourage children and adults to get active in the outdoors. With an almost endless supply of outside activities and countryside we know that there is something for everyone. Our talented instructors and innovative programmes combine physical fitness and social experience all in the wonderful outdoors

Parkwood Leisure employee profile

Rob Oaten

General Manager

Vale of Glamorgan

Legacy Leisure

Rob Oaten joined Parkwood Leisure, and then Legacy Leisure in 2009 and now works as the general manager for the Vale of Glamorgan leisure centres.

Tell us about your career

“I started out as a senior recreation assistant at Scotch Horn leisure centre in June 2009. From there I progressed to a duty manager role. In February 2011, I became the centre manager at Scotch Horn and Backwell leisure centre. I was then seconded to Penzance leisure centres as general manager for a year, before returning to my centre manager role at Scotch Horn and Backwell. In April 2015 I was promoted to general manager at Vale of Glamorgan."

Why did you want to get into the industry?

“I have a real passion for sport and leisure, and I didn’t want to work in an office but in a role where I could make a difference to people's lives. ”

What career advice would you give to young people trying to break into the industry?

“Persistence, availability, flexibility and passion are key. Never be afraid to take opportunities, even if they are perceived as backwards or sideways steps, as they may provide invaluable experience that can springboard career progression in the future.”

What is the best piece of careers advice you’ve been given?

“Focus on the solution, not the problem. There is a widespread tendency to dwell on what is wrong with a given situation without making any progress to resolving it. Once the problem has been identified, all discussions thereafter should be about what can be done to fix it and prevent re-occurrence.”

What changes would you like to see to the industry?

“I would like to see the modernisation of facilities, presentation and communication, and cohesion between exercise, health and nutrition. The industry focuses heavily on exercise availability, less so on health impacts eg smoking and is even less focused on nutrition. Ultimately, all three present a healthy lifestyle.”

What's been your proudest moment?

“In 2012, I was awarded Financial Manager of the Year for significant over-performance at the Scotch Horn and Backwell centres.”

I have a real passion for sport and wanted to work in a role where I could make a difference.
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