How to build a career with Swim England Qualifications

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Whether your goal is to become a tutor, swim school owner or swim coordinator – swim teaching qualifications can provide the platform for a whole career in aquatics.

Gary Humpage is testament to that.

Now Head Coach of the University of Birmingham Swim Team, and a swimming teacher on the University Sports and Fitness Learn to Swim programme, Gary has enjoyed three decades in the industry.

“I’ve built my whole career on Swim England qualifications,” he said. “They’ve given me the skills to go from assistant teacher to swimming teacher to a tutor to a head swimming coach.

“So everything I now do is really down to the skills I’ve picked up from the Swim England courses.”

Career progression opportunities

Gary’s aquatics journey began back in 1988 as a lifeguard.

He said: “I was a national standard swimmer and I came to the University for work experience. There were staff tutoring courses and they encouraged me to get into swim teaching as it would be a good move to further my career.

“Within a year I took my Level 1 course and started on our University Learn to Swim programme, working at stages 1 and 2 with our non-swimmers.

“I built on that block by block towards my Level 2, ensuring that I talked to Level 2 teachers who mentored me through it.”

Over the last 30 years, Gary has overseen the growth of the University of Birmingham Swim Team but continues to enjoy teaching as much as ever.

“I love it because it’s totally different every time you come to the pool, every lesson you take,” he said.

“You can have new swimmers that present new challenges, people you can help, and it’s fantastic to see someone go from a starting point to where they can progress to. That sort of progression really motivates me.”

A fantastic support network

Outlining his message for others considering a career in aquatics, Gary said: “Go for it!

“Make sure you book onto your Level 1 Swimming Assistant course and really engage. The more you put into the courses the more you get out.

“The courses are fantastic and the tutors are very supportive. It’s all about nurturing and learning together and you’ll meet other people on the course who are in exactly the same boat as you.

“You all go forward together and learn and come out the other end more experienced. You’re more confident with what you’re going to do and ready to be a good assistant teacher.”

Swim England’s support doesn’t end with the Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualification either. Dozens of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses are available to build on a swim teacher’s expertise.

“I chose Swim England qualifications because I firmly believe that they are the best,” said Gary. “They have a fantastic support network and lots of ways you can build on your knowledge through CPDs.

“The online courses are a fantastic resource for a newly-qualified Level 2 teacher.

“There’s just so much support and ongoing learning throughout – you never stop learning with Swim England.”