Disability and Employment in the Leisure Industry

Aspire works extensively to promote inclusive fitness. Our Leisure Centre, based within the grounds of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, was the first fully integrated training centre in Europe and was one of the official training venues for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Aspire conducted research on disability in the leisure industry. The report is broken down into three sections with the first focusing on an exercise Aspire carried out where job applications were made for instructor vacancies using two similar CVs; one where the applicant explicitly states that they are a wheelchair user and the other where the applicant does not.

We found that:

  • A wheelchair user is more likely to receive an outright rejection for a role as a fitness instructor than a non-wheelchair user;
  • A non-wheelchair user is over three times more likely to receive an interview offer to become a fitness instructor than a wheelchair user;
  • A wheelchair user is twice as likely to receive an outright rejection for a job application to become a fitness instructor than be invited for an interview;
  • A non-wheelchair user is nearly four times more likely to be invited for an interview than receive an outright rejection for a job application to become a fitness instructor.

Section two looks into mystery gym visits carried out by a wheelchair user at a range of fitness centres. The third explains what Aspire is doing at its flagship Leisure Centre in Stanmore to encourage more disabled people to become fitness instructors and increase the participation rate of disabled people in the leisure industry.  

After analysing our findings in this report, Aspire believes there should be:

  • Greater participation rates of disabled people in sport and leisure;
  • Better inclusive fitness provision within the leisure industry with accessible equipment being available at all sites;
  • Better understanding and awareness of inclusive fitness in the fitness industry;
  • More instructors in the leisure industry trained to work with disabled people. 

Download the full report here

The Aspire Family