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myCareer profile
James Barter

Senior Software Consultant


James Barter started working in the leisure industry as a lifeguard at Felixstowe Leisure Centre when he was 16. He has been working in the industry ever since, and now works as a senior software consultant for Clubware.

Tell us about your career

“After university I started in membership sales for Pulse. Membership sales was great but I’d completed a degree in sport and exercise and wanted to get into fitness instructing, so I found a job in HiLIfe, a fitness club in Ipswich, where I was given the opportunity to troubleshoot one of their struggling clubs. I went from fitness instructor to club manager in just a few months. I then worked as the deputy general manager, and then manager, at Cannons, a health club in South London. I then moved into the supplier side of things, with Torex, now XN Leisure, where I trained people to use the leisure management software, TLMS. I then spent two years working with the Amateur Swimming Association on their Everyday Swim Project. After two years, I applied for a senior position within CheckFree, now Jonas Fitness. I worked at Jonas for eight years, and got to work with some of the industry’s biggest companies, including: David Lloyd and Xercise 4 Less. I was then headhunted by Transaction Services Group, to launch their leisure management software, Clubware, into the UK, and have been there ever since.”

What changes would you like to see in the industry?

“I think there is a real issue with staff being underpaid and under-trained. Customers expect high standards, regardless of cost, yet we expect the front-end service to be delivered by underpaid, under-trained staff who work long hours. In terms of industry changes I think we’ve become far more tech savvy. The industry is fast to adopt new ideas and isn’t afraid to try new things.”

Proud moments

“One of my proudest moments was when I worked in Woking, I started free regular swimming sessions for Muslim women in the area. Some of the women were in their 70s and had never been in a pool before. More recently I played an integral role in one of the largest software transformations that the UK health and fitness industry has ever seen. It took two years to plan, and involved more than 500,000 members and 114 gyms.”

The leisure industry is fast to adopt new ideas and isn't afraid to try new things

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