Lifeguards’ skill-set is great start for swim teachers

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Swimming teachers come from all walks of life – nurses, scaffolders and lorry drivers have all taken Swim England Qualifications this year.

But one of the most popular starting points for a swim teacher or assistant is often next to them at poolside, lifeguards.

The reasons are obvious, with an interest in swimming and in water safety being at the forefront of them.

So what are the benefits of transferring those existing skills to swim teaching?

Pay is certainly one, with Swim England Level 1 Assistant Swimming Teachers typically earning around £9.74/hr and Level 2 Swimming teachers earning an average of £14.89/hr compared to the £6/hr average for lifeguards (*Figures from Careers in Aquatics, 2017).

However, career progression into teaching, tutoring or coaching is also a motivating factor.

A rewarding opportunity

Bethan Laker works within Swim England’s Learn to Swim team having started her aquatics journey as a lifeguard before embarking on her teaching career.

She recalled: “The leisure operator I was lifeguarding for offered me an opportunity to train as a swimming teacher and, from spending most of my time on poolside watching swimming lessons as a lifeguard, it seemed such a rewarding opportunity.

“Without lifeguarding as my entry point into leisure, I would never have trained as a swimming teacher, managed a swim school or had the opportunity to now be able to influence the Learn to Swim provision across the country through the work that I do for Swim England. It gave me a great start!

“Not only have those qualifications helped me progress financially through pay grades and job descriptions, they have helped me progress and grow as a person. The qualifications have opened so many doors for me.”

Quality teachers and coaches

Now training as a Licensed Educator – enabling her to develop the next generation of swimming teachers – Bethan believes Swim England qualifications have been key to her progression from the start.

“I had always been told about the National Governing Body and the quality of teachers and coaches, the quality of the programme and its award scheme. I had also seen a number of courses run out of one of the sites I worked at – all the candidates always seems so engaged and confident after the course, so it was a natural choice.”

Outlining her passion for aquatics – across lifeguarding and teaching – she added: “Swimming is a life skill and the thought that one day someone might know how to get out of trouble in water because of something I taught them is incredible.”