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myCareer profile
Carl Daniels

Senior Sport & Leisure Manager

Countywide, Carmarthenshire

Actif Sport and Leisure

Carl Daniels started out as a primary school teacher, before moving into sports development with Dragon Sport and then joining Actif.

Tell us about your career

I initially started my ‘proper’ working life as a primary school teacher, flying my Welsh nest to take an appointment in Reading. After 3 years in post my ‘ideal job’ came up as a Dragon Sport Co-ordinator in Carmarthenshire, which brought me home in 2004. From initially directly managing the primary school/community activity programme, the following years saw increased investment into primary and secondary school aged programmes (Dragon Sport and ‘5x60’) and I took responsibility for a team of officers who ran programmes across the 100+ schools and communities in the county.

My period in Sports Development was full of great moments in the things we achieved, the development of the team and the relationships built. 2013 created an opportunity to head up the (then) Sports Development, Facilities and Health-related sections, which I successfully applied for. With a ‘one team, one vision’ mindset, we’ve since created and firmly established the Actif brand and driven services to new heights.

Why did you want to get into the industry?

Getting people active has always been in my blood. It’s hard to say why, but my dad loves everything sporty so I guess it’s in the genes. I tried all sports when I was young, but when priorities changed and I hung up my rugby boots, teaching – and of course setting up and running various extra-curricular sports clubs – gave me the sporting sense of satisfaction instead. When I got into Sports Development, it was key for me to practise what I was preaching so took an active role in sports volunteering outside of work. This was largely in the sport of netball, where I coached under-11’s through to adults and umpired from junior development centres through to under-21’s European Championships!

How has Actif helped you?

Working in the Sport & Leisure sector, and in Actif in particular, has giving me a vast array of experiences. Developing through the ranks, I felt led and mentored through the journey, which prepared me well for what lay ahead. In my role, I hope that the culture we’re creating puts an environment in place where all Actif staff and volunteers can feel supported and flourish to be the best they can be, having the greatest impact we can have.

What careers advice would you give to people trying to break into the industry

This industry is highly competitive. You have to put yourself ahead of the competition, but often that means being the right type of person; someone who thrives on getting people active, and thrives on giving people great experiences so they keep active – whether that’s in instruction/teaching, community development, facility management, etc. I’m a firm believer in the statement, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

When I got into Sports Development, it was key for me to practise what I was preaching so took an active role in sports volunteering outside of work.

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