“I’m so pleased I made the decision to undertake my Institute of Swimming training – as being a swimming teacher is a fantastic job. It has helped me to grow in confidence, the good pay has allowed me to put money aside for my future and the job has helped shaped my future career. Being a swimming teacher has gone far beyond my expectations.
“Both my older brother and my Mum previously worked as a swimming teacher, and I guess this is what gave me the idea that I could do it. At the time, I was in my first year of sixth form, aged 16, and working on a market stall on a Saturday. The job was okay, but it was just a small Saturday job as I couldn’t work daytime in the week, so there was no flexibility. I needed something better suited to me.
“I was also feeling a bit lost, as I’d always dreamt of joining the army and had recently learnt that I couldn’t due to medical reasons. The SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant training course with the Institute of Swimming came just at the right time for me. It gave me some focus, and passing the course made me feel much more positive about myself. I undertook some shadowing and work experience poolside, and went on to do my Level 2 qualification.
“I found work very quickly after qualifying and was soon leading swimming lessons across four days, mainly after school and on a Saturday morning. I usually work around 12 hours a week, and earn much more than the minimum wage for someone under 18 years old.
“I have found the balance of teaching swimming and studying for my A Levels ideal. There is enough time to do both and, in comparison to some of my friend’s part time jobs, I certainly have the best. Not only is the pay good, but I work for a big company which is very supportive and understanding of my school studies. The staff at the leisure centre treat me with respect and as part of the team. In addition, my shifts are not too long; I’m so glad I’m not doing a long night shift in a bar or a long day on a check out till.”
Since working as a swimming teacher Jackie has reconsidered her future career.
She explains: “I had to have a total rethink after finding out I couldn’t join the army. Through teaching swimming I learnt how much I enjoy working with children and how I want to give something back to my community. Coaching and mentoring children is extremely rewarding and valuable, and once I complete my A Levels I plan to undertake an apprenticeship, training to become a youth worker. Without teaching swimming I wouldn’t have discovered how much I enjoy working with young people.
“The other wonderful thing about being a swimming teacher is that so many of the skills I have learnt are transferable. The core skills such as good communication, organisation and time management are invaluable, and are just as important as academic qualifications. It also looks great to have this experience on your CV when applying for courses, universities and apprenticeships, as well as for future jobs too.
“Once I start my apprenticeship I still hope to be able to do a few hours of teaching swimming a week. I know my Institute of Swimming qualifications will stay with me for life and it’s always something I can use or come back to should I require it.”
Find out how to become a swimming teacher.