Lifeguard staff update skills after COVID shutdown

14 July 2020

During WA’s recent COVID-19 lockdown the aquatic industry was placed on hold as aquatic centres across the state were forced to close. This left many of the industry’s 4150 strong WA workforce without work for almost three months. With Royal Life Saving WA’s training courses put on hold due to social distancing measures lifeguards who were due to update their qualifications over this period were also unable to do so.

Pool lifeguard practising their rescue skills by the pool

The National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee (NAISC) decided that renewal dates for CPR, First Aid and Pool Lifeguarding certifications and accreditations related to the Aquatic Industry that lapsed between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 would be extended until 1 July, but with WA’s COVID recovery happening earlier than initially thought our state’s pools were re-opened sooner than this. This created a real urgency to requalify WA’s lifeguard staff to ensure the efficient reactivation of the industry, and to enable staff to return to work as soon as possible.

Royal Life Saving WA trainers have been busy across the metro area and regional WA conducting Pool Lifeguard requalification training, running more courses than usual and working flexibly with aquatic centres to complete group requalification training for their staff where possible.

Recently trainer Leanne Coverley-Brandis ran a group requalification course at Cockburn ARC, which has about 80 lifeguards on its books to properly staff its facility, and with Fremantle Leisure Centre.

Pool lifeguards listening to trainer Leanner Coverley-Brandis

When Pool Lifeguards begin their career, they must complete a Pool Lifeguard qualification, CPR and First Aid training. To maintain their credentials annual pool lifeguard and CPR requalification is necessary and First Aid every three years. The staff work extremely hard to ensure these qualifications remain up to date.

Fremantle Leisure Centre Aquatics Operations Manager Jason Houghton says the recent training was really appreciate by his staff. “The guys spoke very highly of Leanne. It’s great to know after all the hardship of being stood down for 11 weeks without pay, the guys are doing great, again thank you, we really do appreciate it!”

Cockburn ARC Operation Team Leader Rhiannon Keel agrees that her staff also appreciated the opportunity to requalify together. “I received heaps of positive feedback from the team about it saying they really enjoyed the way Leanne taught and that they took a lot of the info as to ‘why they do things’ as opposed to just ‘how’ to do things.”

Royal Life Saving WA trainers will continue to ensure Pool Lifeguards across WA have up to date qualifications, to provide a safe environment for those returning to aquatic recreation, with requalification courses coming up in Albany, South Hedland and Karratha in the coming weeks. Click below to learn more about our Pool Lifeguard training courses!

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