New qualifications open doors across the Pilbara

10 November 2020

Students by the edge of the pool practising rescue skillsRoyal Life Saving WA Jigalong Remote Pool Programs Coordinator Deb Gill is not only making a positive impact at the Jigalong Pool, but has now spread her wings to assist further afield. She recently completed her Aquatic Trainer and Heart Beat Club Trainer qualifications, enabling her to use these skills in other nearby Pilbara communities, teaching water safety skills including the Bronze Medallion qualification.

Deb says her love of water started at an early age. “I was a competitive swimmer and state water polo player in my youth. This led to more than 35 years in the aquatic industry. Firstly, employed as a swimming instructor I taught swimming in both private pools and council run facilities. My aquatic experience extends to teaching babies from 6 months old through to adults, lifeguarding, coaching Aussi Masters Swimmers and Aqua Aerobics, seniors classes.”Students practising CPR with manikins

Her first experience of a remote Western Australian pool came when she visited her partner, now Jigalong Pool Manager Ray Martin, while he was managing the Laverton Pool. While she was there she offered the locals aqua aerobics classes.

Last year the couple were offered the opportunity to manager the Jigalong Remote Pool and Deb says for her it was a tough decision to make. “The majority of my aquatic experience was working at the Noarlunga Leisure Centre, a large centre south of Adelaide, where I started as a Swim School Coordinator and worked my way up to Centre Manager over a period of 25 years. The centre not only had pools but also a 3 court stadium, roller-skating, kinder gym, fully equipped health club and swim school.”

Jigalong was going to be a massive change but Deb knew it was time for something different. “Due to a few health issues, it was time to say goodbye to budgets, business plans, and reporting. I wanted to use my experience to work with communities offering aquatic programs and activities. I made the change, not a “sea change” it was a “red dust change”. I’m absolutely enjoying the people and lifestyle in Jigalong, and the fact that I am using my aquatic experiences to make people safe in and around water and keep everybody fit.”

With the addition of her Aquatic Trainer qualification Deb recently delivered her first Bronze Medallion course for a group for school teachers from Newman Senior High School. Deb is excited about the opportunities this qualification opens up for her and the local community. “Gaining the aquatic assessor award will be valuable in educating the locals for both safety to themselves and others, and enables me to offer them pathways into the Aquatic Industry.”

We look forward to seeing Deb trach these vital skills to more locals in Jigalong and across the Pilbara over the coming months. You can find out more about the amazing work happening at all of our remote pools across the northern part of WA at the link below.

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