When Rebecca Maynard became a cleaner at her local leisure centre, she couldn’t have imagined this was the first step to her dream job.
The 30-year-old, who lives near Malmesbury, took the role at the Activity Zone to earn money to support her family.
She’s mum to Hayden, aged 11, Lauren, nine and Lee, six. She also has a learning disability.
“I was employed as a cleaner and vending machine operator and it was a way of earning a living,” she said.
“I’d left school, in Surrey, with virtually no qualifications. School for me was about my friends and that was about it.
“I had no plan, I didn’t even realise what I wanted to do with my life. I think I was far too young to make a decision like that – 16 is so young when you have got so much to experience before you.
“I left school at 16 and just got on with it. I’ve always had a work ethic, I’ve done any job and I was then a young mum. I just did what I had to do to get by. I couldn’t have imagined that a cleaning job would have been the key opportunity to doing something I really love.”
Cleaning at the leisure centre, brought Rebecca, known as Becca, into contact with fitness and she began to take part in the odd class. This helped as, at that time, she was overweight.
“I started doing some classes and going to the gym and I really enjoyed it and my personal fitness improved. Even sitting here now, talking to you, I’m itching to get to the gym, it just makes me feel happy.
“After a while, my colleagues suggested I take some NVQs in fitness – they said I was good at it.
“So, in my spare time, while still working as a cleaner, I contacted training provider Lifetime Training who helped me qualify as a Level 2 fitness instructor.”
Gradually, as she became more qualified, she started covering for other trainers if they were on holiday or unwell.
Today, Becca is a fitness and gymnastics instructor, an NVQ Level 3 personal fitness trainer and she’s also qualified to teach Les Mills Body Combat which is a combination of martial arts and aerobics.
She was able to do this by working with the training organisation Lifetime Training. It provides training for DC Leisure, the company which runs the Activity Zone.
Becca said: “I’m now building up my client base and offering classes and sessions to parents and teenagers at different times. I know what it’s like as a single mum with three children and working – you are always trying to manage time effectively.”
Last year, Becca was given the title DC Leisure Learner of the Year.
Her boss, Andy Donald, who is general manager at the Activity Zone, said: “Over the last 18 months Rebecca has changed completely as a person, she is now driven, and has bags of confidence.
“Without this funded training there would be no way Rebecca would have been able to afford to get herself qualified and out of all the people who we put through Lifetime qualifications, she has probably gained the most.
“It’s great to see her working with clients assisting them improve their health and well-being.
“She can also share her life experiences, and act as an inspiration to other people in similar circumstances.”
Being fitter and more active has also influenced Becca’s role as a mother.
“It has made me think more carefully about my children in terms of exercise and nutrition. I don’t deny my kids the odd treat but when I look back on their diet a few years ago, we just didn’t eat very well.
“Now I’ve learned a lot more about nutrition so I consider our meals more carefully.
“I want to become a better role model for my kids. Recently Lauren told me she wanted to be like her mum. That’s such a lovely thing to say and that means a lot to me. Lee has also said he’d like to be a fitness instructor too so the children are seeing me in a different light.
“If I can inspire them to follow their dreams, I’ll be even happier.”
However, something deeper has happened for this inspirational mum.
“I’m so grateful for my life, I’m a lot more appreciative of life as someone saw something in me and they encouraged and believed in me.
“I feel happy and proud. Five years ago I did have a bit of a ‘I don’t care’ attitude and now I don’t feel like that.
“People have given me opportunities and those opportunities have changed my life.”