Summer swimming skills for Hedland kids

15 January 2021

For the second year in a row Royal Life Saving WA has provided swim instructors to assist in the delivery of the Department of Education’s in-term swimming program, ensuring children in Port Hedland and South Hedland had an opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills. Hedland’s Baler and Cassia Primary Schools took part in the program late in Term Four 2020, with a total of 159 children getting involved in the lessons.

A swim instructor in the pool with two studentsChildren in regional communities often miss out on the benefit of school swimming lessons, mainly due to a lack of swim instructors to run these programs in regional areas. Royal Life Saving WA and the Department of Education have worked together to find a solution to this problem, sending four swimming instructors from Perth to the town to conduct the lessons alongside local staff.

Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Education, Trent Hotchkin, says it’s a very important step. “We’re pleased to partner with the Department of Education and provide our support to ensure kids in regional WA have access to vital swimming and water safety lessons. No children should miss out on learning these skills due to their location, and ensuring all Western Australian children learn to Swim and Survive is one of the most important investments we can make to prevent drowning.”

The latest National Drowning report highlighted the fact that 57% of WA's drowning deaths happened outside the metro area in 2019-20, with people 3.8 times more likely to drown in regional and remote areas of WA. The provision of swimming and water safety programming in these areas is therefore crucial as we work to turn these figures around.

One of the instructors who was involved in the recent in-term program, Diane Bronton, said she thoroughly enjoyed her time in Hedland. “Overall it was an excellent experience and I would most certainly be interested in any future regional work." Royal Life Saving WA is pleased to collaborate with government and non-government organisations like the Department of Education, Town of Port Hedland and Principal Community Partner BHP in our efforts to ensure no child misses out on learning vital swimming and water safety skills. You can find out more about our work in regional and remote areas of WA at the link below.

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As we work to address the shortage of swimming instructors across Western Australia, Royal Life Saving WA has launched a new nationally-recognised training course for swimming teachers, as part of the McGowan Government’s ‘Skills Ready’ initiative, with the course made available for free to eligible candidates in order to enable students to either prepare for their first job or reskill quickly for jobs that are available as WA’s economy recovers post COVID-19.

The new course, SWIM TEACHER by Royal Life Saving is an innovative and flexible training solution that offers candidates an industry-recognised Swim Teacher qualification from the SIS Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package, and is a WA Department of Health approved qualification for swimming and water safety instruction. It’s hoped the provision of this course will assist in training up new swimming instructors to fill the shortage that currently exists across metro and regional WA.

You can find out more about the new course at the link below.

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