It was early 2020 (pre-pandemic) when Vicki Watson noticed an ad on Facebook for the Swimming Teacher Recruitment Academy, it intrigued her, so she clicked through to find out more…
She was initially attracted by the price, as it gives aspiring swimming teachers the chance to receive high-quality training and be matched up with an employer for £79, compared to the usual £1,000 cost of qualifying.
After further research into the Academy, she found that she would also get volunteer hours and ongoing support from the Recruitment Academy team. These were two of the key reasons that encouraged her to make the decision to change careers and apply to take the Swim England Level 1 Swimming Assistant (teaching) Course and Level 2 Teaching Swimming Qualification with the Academy.
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Vicki has a love for swimming, but hadn’t considered teaching swimming as a career until finding out about the Academy,
“Swimming has been my happy place for the past 10 years, the place where I relax, get fit and think through my day.”
Vicki worked as a forensic mental health nurse for nearly 18 years before retraining to become a swimming teacher in 2020 to 2021. Although she loved being a nurse, over the years she found that she was,
“less able to support patients directly and was spending a lot of time completing paperwork.”
By retraining to become a swimming teacher she is able to share her love for swimming with others and directly teach children and adults a life skill that will bring them enjoyment for years to come.
Vicki does feel that there are similarities between the two careers, the key one being that both professions
“support people to achieve their goals.”
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Vicki was able to complete the theory parts of the Level 1 and Level 2 teaching courses online, and she really enjoyed completing them,
“the e-learning gave me time to digest the information, and the interactive sessions were led by informative tutors, who kept the experience interesting and fun.
The tutors kept us engaged and encouraged us to think, not just read from books or PowerPoints.”
Unfortunately, she was not able to carry out the volunteer hours due to the pools being closed because of the pandemic. The Recruitment Academy team kept her up-to-date on what was happening and any job opportunities that would be suitable for her. Also, she was able to get continued support from the tutors,
“My tutors were great and always available. As well as being able to talk to them via zoom, they were also very helpful via email and WhatsApp.
When I was feeling quite overwhelmed during my L2 practical, Kelly arranged for us to discuss how I was feeling, which helped so much.”
Indoor pools reopened on the 12th April, so she was able to book her Level 2 practical course.
Vicki recently started a full-time teaching position, and she had her first shift on the 5 May, this is how she found it…
“I loved it, everyone was friendly and helpful.”
She is hoping this career change will give her a better work/life balance and she’s excited to be part of a supportive swimming community with “similar minded people.”