Stuart, 46, is a full time swimming teacher in Greater Manchester. Here he explains his love of being a swimming teacher and why it’s a career he’s keen to stay with.
“I first started working in aquatics in 1996 as a lifeguard. I really enjoyed the job and the buzz of being poolside, and the following year I went on to get my Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification. For the next few years I worked supporting in lessons.
“In 2004 I got married and had a family, and there was pressure for me to do more work and bring in more money. I ended up working 60 hours a week in security. At the time it felt like the right decision, but I hated it. I went on to become a mental health worker, but I always regretted leaving swimming and my wife pushed me to get my Level 2 Teaching SwimmingSEQ Level 2 Teaching Swimming Qualification and to return to the career I loved. In Autumn 2022 I became full qualified and I’ve not looked back since.”
Stuart now works 30 hours a week, teaching children and adults group swimming lessons, as well as 1:2:1 sessions.
“It’s fantastic to be back poolside. I love the fact that my job helps people improve their confidence and life skills. I get such a kick from watching their progression. It is truly rewarding. Additionally, as a father of a blended family of seven, it allows me to bring in a good salary but still have time to commit to my home life. A lot of my hours are in the evenings, giving me space to help at home.”
Stuart, who was diagnosed with dyslexia and is waiting on a diagnosis for ADHD, says:
“Being neurodiverse makes some jobs harder for me, whereas I look forward to teaching swimming everyday. I believe having learning struggles helps me to relate to some of my pupils, as I can see things from their point of view and I particularly enjoy teaching children with learning disabilities. Both swimming and teaching swimming feels like freedom to me, as I’m not judged on my academic qualifications, but on my skills to understand, communicate, encourage and deliver meaningful lessons.
“When I originally decided to take my Level 2 course I was obviously a little apprehensive, as I can find reading and concentrating on one thing sometimes challenging. However, my tutor, who was aware of my diagnosis, couldn’t have been more supportive. She was brilliant and really boosted my self-belief.
“Now that I am back teaching swimming, I really can’t imagine doing anything else. My children say I’m like a big fish! And being poolside feels like home.”
Find out how to become a swimming teacher.