Search skills and life stage parallels for Talent Pool recruits

11 December 2021

Port Hedland participants of the Royal Life Saving WA Talent Pool program recently underwent training in search pattern techniques and discovered the methods are not unlike their journey from school into the unknown world of employment!

young male practising a search pattern technique wearing blackout gogglesThe group practised various search patterns and refined their aquatic search skills at a training session at the South Hedland Aquatic Centre in October. Search patterns used included streamlined, pendulum and jackstay methods, techniques used by professional forensic divers. The training was made as realistic as possible with the use of black-out goggles which helped to simulate real searches conducted in low-visibility locations.

“The challenge was to locate two items within a 5-metre-square radius by using only their senses, conducting the search by feel and by using advanced communication techniques,” said Royal Life Saving WA Pilbara Development Officer Lauren Thompson.

girl wearing blackout goggles at the bottom of a swimming poolPendulum, or arc searches, involve a diver sweeping back and forth in an arc at the end of a tether, gradually working back towards the edge. Pendulum search patterns work well for larger objects and in areas of varying depths. A jackstay search is conducted by swimming along a moveable search line called a jackstay which is connected to two fixed jackstays laid parallel to each other at opposite ends of the search area. 

Group members took turns acting as team leader for the scenarios. “The recruits had to trust in one another and work together,” said Lauren. “They were very successful in their searches, locating the items within all search formats conducted.”

In addition to refining their rescue search skills, Lauren says the group also discussed the parallels between these skills and the pursuit of employment opportunities.

Talent Pool recruits underwater wearing blackout goggles“They discussed the process of searching in the context of transitioning from schooling to employment – ‘feeling’ their way to familiarisation within the employment sector, and often with a sense of ‘blindness’ when adjusting to unknown situations and work-related concepts.”

We wish these guys the best of luck in their ‘search’ for employment opportunities and as they skill up through the Talent Pool program. Learn more about this amazing program, which is made possible thanks to support from Principal Community Partner BHP, at the link below.

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