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Chris Abbott

General Manager

Oxford Castle & Prison

Continuum Attractions

Chris Abbott has worked in the leisure industry for more than 15 years. He began his career as a personal trainer and worked as the business manager for Hertsmere Leisure. He now works for Continuum Attractions as the general manager for Oxford Castle & Prison.

Tell us about your career

My career began in the fitness industry. I undertook a personal trainer (PT) apprenticeship when I finished school and did that for a while before I took on the role of general manager at a leisure centre with Hertsmere Leisure. Through several years of dedication and various promotions within the company, I built up a good reputation for myself within the organisation. Then an exciting role came up at Oxford Castle & Prison. I knew that it'd be a challenge but one I really wanted to take on. In my spare time I love visiting heritage sites and learning about history, this had included a visit to Oxford Castle, so once the opportunity came up I knew immediately that this was the direction I wanted to go in. I was thrilled when I got the job as general manager of Oxford Castle & Prison.

How has your career progressed?

I realised that professional development would be the key to success, I spent 15 years building a career in the leisure industry, but it was tourism that had the greatest allure. I knew I could easily transfer my management skills - people management, customer service, service delivery, budgeting and accounting are core skills that can be adapted to anything. Working for Continuum Attractions, is my first role in tourism, and it’s full of challenges but it's so rewarding. One of the hardest things I found was starting afresh in a new company. I spent 11 years with my last employer and got to know the business inside and out, taking on this new challenge was definitely one of the most nervewracking parts of my career.

What are your goals?

My goal is to see Oxford Castle & Prison emerge as a must-see destination. I'd previously built up a great reputation for the leisure centre I worked for and want to replicate that success for this attraction, which has so much fascinating history and storytelling. I take great pride in what I do and where I work, and it fills me with joy when I see it performing so well. From here, a longer-term goal is to manage a larger historic attraction and perhaps eventually become a regional/area manager with several attractions under my portfolio. I’ve definitely got the bug for the industry.

My goal is to see Oxford Castle & Prison emerge as a must-see destination

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