Demand rises for lifeguards

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Bunbury’s Back Beach in 1937. Verna Hicks, Olga Rundell (nee Baird), and Betty Cox
Camera IconBunbury’s Back Beach in 1937. Verna Hicks, Olga Rundell (nee Baird), and Betty Cox Credit: WESTERN MAIL,

The State Government has announced a new initiative to get West Australians summer ready and meet the Statewide demand for pool lifeguards and swimming instructor jobs.

Two nationally-recognised short courses will fast-track participants into entry-level pool lifeguarding and swimming instructor roles in time for the aquatic industry’s busy summer period.

The courses were developed after consultation with Royal Life Saving WA which identified a Statewide need for additional pool lifeguards and swimming teachers to meet demand.

Leschenault Leisure Centre manager Richard Duke said there was a constant demand for pool lifeguards and swimming instructor jobs.

“Our swim school growth in enrolments can be anything between 150 and 180 kids between the winter and summer,” he said.

“We find that between us, the South West Sports Centre, Collie and Busselton, we have to bring on about five to six new instructors and lifeguards each year.

“The industry suits students that are studying and being a lifeguard or swim instructor working a morning, evening or weekend shift just fits in with their timetable.”

The Swimming and Water Safety Teacher Skill Set will teach participants how to perform water rescues and teach water familiarisation, buoyancy and a variety of swimming strokes.

The Pool Lifeguard Skill Set will teach participants how to perform water rescues, administer first aid and oxygen and supervise in an aquatic environment.

Mr Duke says water safety skills are an important investment.

“Regardless of whether you swim strongly or you can win a race at school, it comes down to water awareness and water safety,” he said.

“While we might teach in a closed environment, part of the lessons are broadened to beaches, rivers and dams.

“Being rural, that water safety message is important as we’re pretty much sitting around the coastline where people will no doubt get caught out.”

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said these new courses offered opportunities for young people and jobseekers to secure year-round work that made a difference in the community.

“Spending time around the water is part of the Western Australian way of life and these new courses will ensure swimming is safe and learning how to swim is accessible,” she said.

“Not only will the courses lead to jobs that are available right now, they can also be used as a stepping stone to further study, providing pathways to roles in management and program coordination across the community recreation field.”

For more information, visit http://www.education.wa.edu.au/swimming.

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