Top talent in Port Hedland

8 March 2018

Royal Life Saving WA’s new youth engagement and employment initiative, “Talent Pool”, has achieved huge success after the completion of an initial pilot program in Port Hedland.

Thanks to a collaboration between Royal Life Saving and the Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation within a period of just eight weeks, our Port Hedland based Program Coordinator, Pida Bule-Turner, recruited, trained and mentored a group of young Aboriginal residents through their Bronze Medallion certificate, First Aid and Pool Lifeguard qualifications.

Pida said her participants were one of the most well-prepared groups that she had ever taken through any of her courses. This is a significant achievement considering that almost all participants had little to no swimming background.
Boys in the pool
Talent Pool has been designed to use the local council swimming pool as the main vehicle to engage, train and empower young Aboriginal people with the primary objective being to transition graduates into their first-time work experience.

Research has found that the drowning rate amongst Australian Aboriginals is three times higher than other Australian children aged 0–14 years, and is ranked the second-most common cause of injury death. By enabling this group of Aboriginal young people to learn skills to provide employment pathways in the aquatic industry, Royal Life Saving WA hopes they can become mentors to other young people in their community, ensuring that swimming and water safety skills become a priority for Aboriginal children.

The Bronze Medallion program commenced just before Christmas 2017, with 16 young people taking part in the six-week course. This resulted in 12 people attempting to get their Bronze Medallion in January, with 9 people achieving this on their first attempt. The remaining three are determined to give it another shot!

Pida worked intensively with the Bronze Medallion group to progress them through their First Aid qualifications, enrolling 7 young people into a Pool Lifeguard course recently. Once again – Pida will work hard to see the others achieve their goals, too.

In partnership with the Training Department, Pida also planned and helped to coordinate a Pool Lifeguard course in Port Hedland over the weekend of February 24th and 25th. Seven young Aboriginal people were enrolled in this course, and 100% of those enrolled passed course requirements!
Boys in the pool
They are all now looking to finalise their 15 hours of practical placement before (hopefully) gaining work either at their local pools or in the broader community. Three have already been booked in for workplace interviews!

Travis Doye, Senior Manager Workforce Solutions, says: “Through programs such as Talent Pool, we’re building an alliance of Local Government Authorities that are committed to providing opportunities for local Aboriginal youth.

“Plans for expansion of the Talent Pool concept are now in full swing throughout a range of alternative regional, remote and metropolitan aquatic facilities.

“Royal Life Saving WA is also seeking interest from Local Government Authorities or other relevant organisations that are interested in being involved or contributing to the broader development and delivery of Talent Pool.”

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