Ellenbrook boys learn to save lives

15 June 2021

Two boys practising CPR on a manikinA group of students from the Ellenbrook Secondary College’s Clontarf Academy are this week completing an Extended Bronze Medallion Program, after spending the past six weeks learning vital swimming, lifesaving and water safety skills. The program, supported by the Australian Government Department of Health via the Driving Social Inclusion through Physical Activity and Sport Grants, has run every Wednesday afternoon since the 12th May at Swan Active Ballajura.

Clontarf academies are an initiative of the Clontarf Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the education, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. Each academy is integrated into its host school and is staffed by full-time mentors. The academy program builds on boys’ enthusiasm for sport to encourage them to achieve academically.

Completion of the Extended Bronze Medallion gives these young men skills that could save their lives and the lives of those round them. Royal Life Saving WA data shows that Aboriginal young people are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning than non-Aboriginal children in our state.

The Extended Bronze Medallion course is part of Royal Life Saving WA’s Swim and Survive Access and Equity program. The course is tailored for Aboriginal youth and provides additional training in the lead up to the formal assessment to ensure participants are comfortable in performing all components of the course.Aboriginal boys addressing a gathering of people

As part of the practical component of the course the participants learn a variety of swimming skills to keep themselves safe while taking part in water activities, along with rescue techniques such as reach rescues and throw rescues, enabling them to properly throw a rescue aid to someone experiencing distress in the water.

During the course, on Friday May 21st, Royal Life Saving WA CEO Peter Leaversuch and Inclusion Coordinator Achol Madong attended the academy’s afternoon tea at the Ellenbrook Secondary College. The Clontarf Foundation’s Chairperson was in attendance along with local MPs and other partner organisations. The event gave an opportunity for past participants, including two young men who received a Royal Life Saving WA Bravery Award last year, to speak about their experience with the academy and their lives since leaving high school.

Royal Life Saving WA is pleased to be able to partner with the Clontarf Academy to enable these Aboriginal young men to learn vital skills as we work to reduce drowning rates in Aboriginal communities cross our state. You can learn more about this vital work at the link below.

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