Waleed Ghafoory, 20, is a university student who is part-funding his education through his swimming teacher job
As a young child, Waleed was scared of water and hated being splashed in the face. It was this fear that made his mum determined he would learn to swim and get over his water anxiety. He went to swim school and when he was 12 he joined the Ealing Swimming Club in Chiswick, London.
Waleed says: “In my youth, swimming became part of my regular weekly routine. I enjoyed swimming and made lots friends at the club. My swimming coach remains a big influence in my life, and his support and guidance over the years has been far reaching.
“When I was 16, I’d had enough of club swimming as I wanted to concentrate more on my A-Levels, but my coach suggested I should complete my SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) Qualification, and that I could get some part time work at the club. When you are 16 there aren’t many part-time jobs available and I didn’t fancy working in a supermarket or a restaurant kitchen, so I thought the swimming assistant role would be a good choice. I found the training really straight forward and I started assisting the swimming coaches and teachers at the club.”
The following year, during the February half term, Waleed completed his SEQ Level 2 Swimming Teacher Qualification – at the time he was in the second year of his A Levels.
Waleed says: “It made sense for me to get my Level 2 Swimming Teacher qualification as I enjoyed working pool side and could already see how I could increase my hours and use the qualification whilst at university. It was fantastic to be able to complete the training during a school holiday, as this didn’t really impact my school work too much. Ever since qualifying I have worked as a part time swimming teacher and it’s been the best decision.
“I passed my A-Levels and started my economics degree at Royal Holloway University in London. However, I still work two afternoons a week in Chiswick and two afternoons a week in Egham, plus I pick up additional holiday/sickness cover work too. On a normal week I teach swimming for 12 hours. It works perfectly with my university life, as most of my lectures/tutorials are during school hours, so this means that from 3-6pm I can work at the pools.
“In comparison to my student flat mates I definitely have the best part time job! The work is rewarding, it’s certainly not boring – and I get treated well and with respect. I’ve never had to deal with drunk customers in restaurant or been bored working on a checkout till. Plus, it pays better than these jobs!”
Waleed is now in his second year of university and can see that swimming teaching will play a part in his next steps following his graduation next year.
He says: “I’m not sure what the future holds, my dream job is in marketing. However, I am realistic that there is no guarantee of a job after graduating and I’d be very happy to increase my swimming teaching hours whilst looking for a marketing job. Plus, if my first post-university job isn’t very well paid, I could use swimming teaching to supplement my income. I’ve even started thinking about using my swimming teaching qualification to fund a gap year of travelling or living abroad – as there are lots of opportunities to teach swimming all around the world.
“I would recommend swimming teaching to any young person. It’s a job where are you are working in a pleasant and safe environment. You are respected, and the flexible hours are perfect to work alongside your studies. Being a swimming teacher is a tiring job, it’s non-stop talking and moving in the water and you need to be patient with children – but it is so much more rewarding and enjoyable than other student jobs.”