Swim instructor scholarships aim to increase water safety

Keeping swimmers safe: The swim instructor scholarships will help create more opportunities for swimming lessons in the region Photo by Megan Fisher

Ten swim instructor scholarships are being offered to community members as a way to boost swimming instructor numbers in City of Greater Shepparton.

Aquamoves has collaborated with the Hunter Boyle Children’s Foundation and Kidsafe Victoria to provide these scholarships and successful applicants will be hired as a instructors at Aquamoves.

The scholarship covers swim certification with Life Saving Victoria, first aid and CPR certification, Working with Children’s Check and hands-on training with an experienced swim instructor, co-teaching classes.

Aquamoves aquatic program and education co-ordinator Liliana Angeles said the scholarship was a great initiative as it addressed a problem the swimming program has had for years — not enough teachers.

Swim teachers are required to have various checks and training before applying for the job, which was why they struggle when it comes to hiring swim teachers, she said.

“It’s shocking, all the pre-requirements they need to have completed beforehand like; swimming instructor training, CPR, first aid, police check and working with children check. They have to have training hours and have to invest in time and money before applying for the job compared to the other jobs,” Miss Angeles said.

When Aquamoves advertises for staff, the swimming teachers area always has the lowest applicant rate, according to Miss Angeles.

“When customer service hire, they get around 13 (applicants), lifeguards get 10 to 12 and we get one or two tops,” she said.

The swimming instructor scholarships will help solve this problem.

By paying for the training, it means that people could apply for the job without the monetary commitment of receiving training, meaning a boost in applicants for the program.

It also meant Aquamoves could open up more spaces for children’s swimming lessons, which was something centre staff were eager to do.

“We don’t even cover 10 per cent of the Shepparton kid population,” Miss Angeles said.

“We are not preparing them to swim in the lakes or the rivers.

“We want more swimming instructors so we can have more classes to cover more of the population of the kids in Shepparton.

“There was a 20 per cent increase on drowning from 2020-21 across Australia and 61 (drowned) in Victoria. Our goal is 10 per cent of the kid population.”

Greater Shepparton City Council’s community director Louise Mitchell said that it was a great opportunity for those wanting to obtain work in the aquatic field.

“We are grateful to the Hunter Boyle Swim Program and Kidsafe Victoria for this great opportunity and helping to keep our community safe,” she said.

“Applicants must have completed Year 10 and be enthusiastic about community swimming, have a passion for teaching, be comfortable in water, and energetic.”

Applications close Friday, January 21. For more information or to apply for the scholarship, visit the Aquamoves Council Website.

The Hunter Boyle Children’s Foundation was established by Shepparton’s Ash Napolitano and Matt Boyle in honour of their two-year-old son Hunter, who drowned in a dam in August 2020.