Breeze's Gym

Sports:

Fitness , Weightlifting

Location:

Aberdare

Aberdare is home to a hidden sporting gem - Breeze's Gym. Set up by Welsh weightlifting legend Michaela Breeze and her partner Sinead Kelly, the gym is going from strength to strength.

And bear in mind, that Michaela and Sinead started the gym with zero business experience!

Since opening in December 2012, membership numbers have doubled.  Breeze's Gym is one of only a few gyms that can boast a more female dominant membership base.  In just 20 months, Michaela has coached 10 athletes to compete at international level.  Michaela and her protogee Christie Williams also represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.  

Now working with all local comprehensive schools, the local college and a primary school in Aberdare, Breeze's Gym are engaging youngsters of all ages and abilities in physical activity.  Working closely with each school, both in lessons, during lunch times and after school clubs either at the schools or at the gym, they endeavour to accommodate schools requests where possible.

Michaela says, "I can develop weightlifters from secondary school age and these four secondary's cover a massive patch so that is a huge achievement for the business in less than 2 years."

Now we all know that a skilled and passionate workforce is an essential ingredient in getting every child hooked on sport for life. So - if you are start-up business - take note of Michaela and Sinead's story…

"Within the first month of opening Breeze's Gym, we were a little understaffed and rushed off our feet with this new business.  Two girls came to us asking for work experience, Natasha and Sam. Neither had any experience or background in the fitness industry but we gave them some hours and were appreciative of the extra pairs of hands," says Michaela.

"Natasha was studying a sports related course at college, having left school at 15 without any GCSEs. She joined up as a gym member and then she requested a couple of hours a week of work experience. She was so enthusiastic, it ended up being much more than that.

She now has her Level 2 Fitness Instructors course and, with qualifications under her belt, her confidence has gone through the roof and she is now employed on a full time basis.

Sam joined us on work experience in January 2013 just a few week after we opened.  She needed a certain amount of work experience to claim her jobseekers allowance. She started on reception but soon realized to progress or to have any opportunity of us keeping her on in a paid capacity that she'd need fitness qualifications. She has worked really hard to achieve the necessary qualifications and is now employed on a full time basis.

Amy started working for us just two weeks after we opened. On reception and carrying out cleaning duties initially because she wasn't fitness instructor qualified.  Amy was also really keen to do more - she quickly passed both level 2 Fitness Instructor and level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications and was promoted to Duty Manager. We saw potential in Amy and her passion to commit to the business was clear.  A few months later, she was promoted again to Operations Manager. She has made incredible progress and has taken on massive responsibility.  It really is incredible just how far someone can come with the right opportunities and guidance.

You can find out more about how Michaela set up the facility in the below film and you can also find out more about the facility itself in this You Tube film.

  

 

Michaela's top tips

If you're in need of a committed and passionate workforce, then here are Michaela's top tips:

(1) Accept work experience offers - they work for free and you can find out how good they are and then offer them employment, but at the same time, don't be afraid to say so if you don't think they are right for your company.

(2) A lack of experience can actually be a good thing - you can mold and develop them as you want to fit your business.

(3) Sinead line manages our staff and sets out the standards from the very outset in the staff induction. It's vital that employees are absolutely clear on what's expected of them and the quality of the work that is required. Be firm and clear at the beginning - it makes your life as an employer much easier!  For all of our cleaning and day to day checks that are required, we provide daily checklists so there is no room for error or misunderstandings about exactly what is required on each shift.

(4) If you're recruiting, don't just take on the best candidate. If none of the candidates are good enough, then recruit again and be patient.

(5) In the application process, we invite candidates to undertake a written application. Once we've sifted the candidates, we then carry out one to one interviews and a practical aspect to see how they would go about the actual job we're asking them to do. People can be great on paper but we also need them to have good people skills and a level of confidence.

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