Dan, 19, currently works as a part-time swimming teacher at Trafford Leisure’s Altrincham Leisure Centre whilst studying for his BSc degree in Paramedic Practice at Edge Hill University in Manchester. Dan splits his time between university and working at the leisure centre some evenings and weekends to help fund his studies.
Dan and his two brothers all learnt to swim at Altrincham Leisure Centre following the Swim England Learn to Swim programme. Dan was always a keen swimmer and signed up for Lifeguard Training when he was 16, which he completed with the RLSS through a Trafford Leisure initiative.
Dan says: “I loved becoming a lifeguard and really enjoyed the training. I had completed my Learn to Swim Programme and wanted to keep swimming, the lifeguard qualification allowed me to keep my hobby up whilst learning new skills. In addition, it gave me a fantastic part time job. At the time I was at college doing my B-Tech in Public Services and the lifeguard work and hours really fitted around my college life.”
Dan continues: “It was whilst I was still working as a Lifeguard that Trafford Leisure’s Swimwell Manager, Nicky Lowe, asked me if I would like to train as a swimming teacher. I jumped at the chance and signed up for the Institute of Swimming’s training academy in the summer of 2019.”
Trafford Leisure, in partnership with the Institute of Swimming, runs swimming teacher academies that give people the chance to train to become a swimming teacher, with the qualification costs largely funded by Trafford Leisure.
Jo Cherrett, COO at Trafford Leisure says: “Swimming is an extremely important life skill and it is not acceptable that children are missing out on the opportunity to learn to swim because of a shortage of teachers. Through our partnership with the Institute of Swimming, we are determined to make the vocation more accessible. We were delighted to upskill existing members of staff and reach out to our Trafford community for further applications too.”
Dan started his Level One SEQ Swimming Assistant (Teaching) in June and went on to complete his Level Two SEQ Swimming Teacher qualification in July. He also conducted his work experience with Trafford Leisure, assisting in swimming lessons and being mentored by instructors. The courses were both online and face to face. Dan says: “The training alongside the work experience are very comprehensive; there was a good balance between theory and practical sessions. I really matured through the training and feel it has helped me to develop my self-confidence and my abilities at dealing with people.”
Since qualifying, Dan regularly teaches at Trafford Leisure, largely covering classes due to full-time teachers’ holidays/absence. He has taught both children and adults to learn to swim. He says: “No class is the same – it’s a very rewarding job and I love to make the lessons fun for the children. Teaching people to swim takes dedication and effort, but it is so fantastic to see the results and to watch people improve.
“I plan to continue to teach people to swim throughout my degree and am considering combining my paramedic and swimming teaching careers, to help supplement my finances. My lifeguard and swimming teaching experience has given me the opportunity to learn valuable lifesaving and practical skills and has helped me to get real experience of dealing with people and situations, which can only help my future career as a paramedic.”