Key Swimming Teacher skills to highlight to your university applications

Summarising all the skills you have in a UCAS personal statement or university interview can be a struggle, especially in the 4,000-character limit!

We’ve shared a few helpful ideas and suggestions for you to think about including on your application, because, as a swimming teacher, there are so many transferable skills you’ve developed that can wow the University Admissions Tutors and land you a place on your dream course.

Daniel Hodgson, a third-year BSc Sports Science student at Teesside University, worked as a swimming teacher while studying. He says:

“I think teaching allows you to show off your skills, all while making you look good to future employers.

“Teaching swimming has helped me learn skills like effective communication, organisation, problem-solving and independence, to name a few. I’ve noticed in interviews I get lots more questions about my teaching experience than any other area.”

Jackie, 17, became a swimming teacher in 2022 and can already see how valuable the role is. She says:

“So many of the skills I have learnt are transferable. The core skills such as good communication, organisation and time management are invaluable.”

Here are the top skills swimming teachers develop:

Leadership skills

Leading a group of six-plus children through a 30-minute lesson takes a lot of confidence. You need to maintain their attention while managing all the different needs of the individuals in the group. This is what leadership is all about!

Planning, organisation and time management skills

We all know the saying ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Being able to create and follow lesson plans is something you can bring into all areas of life. Whether you’re organising an event, planning out your coursework or writing an essay, these skills are extremely useful.

Not only are you able to plan a series of activities, but your time management will also be hugely boosted!

Communication and Public Speaking Skills

If you think teaching and talking to a group of children isn’t transferable to making presentations or taking interviews, you’re wrong. Confidence in talking to people and influencing them is a quality employers are always looking for.

Fiona, who started teaching at 16 and now tutors for the Institute of Swimming, says:

“Teaching swimming helped me in lots of unexpected ways. It developed my confidence in speaking in front of groups of people. When you’re working with children you have to capture their attention and be able to control the situation.

“When it came to my final year of Uni and the daunting task of applying for graduate roles, I was able to use a lot of my experience throughout the application process and felt confident during the assessment days.”

Work on your own and as part of a team

As a swimming teacher, you might think that a lot of the work you do is working as an individual, but how often do you work with an assistant, share ideas with other teachers or mentor newly qualified teachers? All the teachers, lifeguards, leisure centre staff and swim coordinators are part of your team and you will be working together to create a brilliant lean to swim experience.

Problem-solving and creative thinking

When teaching, and especially when working with children, you need to be adaptable and we know that every lesson is never the same! How many times have you had to change your lesson at a moment’s notice or had a pupil that needs additional support? There will always be unexpected changes and this skill to adapt can serve you well at university.

Problem-solving while you have a class full to engage is a hard skill to learn without being thrown in the deep end a few times!

Creating lesson ideas also hones this skill. You’ll have specific goals you want to reach in your lessons and you find inventive and fun ways to reach them week after week.

Work experience

Adapting to work is often underrated and the university environment needs you to take responsibility for yourself. Proving that you can show up, take account of yourself and are driven enough to gain your teaching qualifications can speak volumes when applying for your university place.

Bethany has been assisting in lessons since she was 16 and is still drawing on this experience when applying for Masters positions. She says:

“When I was interviewed for my Masters, the university tutors were all very impressed that I had so much work experience, especially working with young people.”

Good luck with your applications – we hope they go swimmingly!