Shabana retrained to teach women only swimming sessions in her community

Shabana, is a Community Wellbeing Manager, who has recently retrained to add swimming teacher to her skill set.

She says:

Shabana swim teacher“I work promoting wellbeing out in my community and found there was a lot of women who had never learnt to swim due to cultural barriers.  So many women told me they wanted to learn, but didn’t feel confident doing so.  When I contacted my local leisure centre they told me that unfortunately didn’t have enough swimming teachers to be able to offer a women’s only class.  So I started training with the Institute of Swimming Recruitment Academy to become a swimming teacher. By gaining my swimming teacher qualifications I will be able to facilitate and engage with my community to help them come and learn to swim.  It was a great motivator in getting the training, as I knew I’d have so many community contacts who would be interested in the class.


“I’m passionate about sharing my own swimming journey with my community, as I understand what it’s like to not necessarily have the opportunity to learn as a child.  I only learnt to swim myself in the last 18 months. I was completely new to swimming  and the pool environment, and I am sure that my experience will help others to access swimming. Swimming is for everyone.


“I was first encouraged to take a swimming lesson by a friend. I felt very self-conscious and I was very unfamiliar with being at a pool. I felt very body conscious too; just getting a swimming suit on felt alien to me. I had a lot of emotional barriers to overcome to even get into the water, but I was very determined.  I really enjoyed my lessons, I felt good in the water, and began to gain in confidence as I learnt the strokes.  At the time, my father was receiving palliative care and I was his main care-giver.  Being able to come swimming gave me a break from my responsibilities and the health benefits for both my body and mind were quite profound.


“I’d recommend being a swimming teacher, it’s a really valuable job.  You don’t need to be an expert swimmer.  You don’t need to wear a swimming costume.  You don’t necessarily have to be in the water, and you don’t need to look a certain way or be a certain shape.  Being a teacher is very rewarding, as you are teaching everyone from babies to mature adults, and how they learn and access swimming is very different.


“I’m proud to be teaching swimming, and I’d like to tell other women like me that it’s a great career, it’s very inclusive, it’s very flexible and can fit round caring responsibilities. My pathway from being a non-swimmer to becoming a swimming teacher was very quick, and if I can do it, so can anyone!


“I think it’s a fantastic time to get involved in aquatics, there’s so many cultural and religious appropriate swim wear available now that everyone, irrelevant of your background, should feel confident and happy at the pool. More leisure centres are offering women-only lessons and creating safe spaces for women to swim.  Women from my heritage want to swim and it’s great that organisations are making access to swimming easier.


“Swimming is often at the centre of family activities, be that a holiday with a pool or a day trip to the seaside.  For too long, many women from my community have had to be the bystanders to this family time. Swimming needs to be embedded in our communities, and the work of the Institute of Swimming with its funded academies will help create a more diverse workforce.


“I hope I can inspire other women and people from my communities to not only learn to swim, but inform them about the funded pathway to becoming a swimming teacher.”

Find out how to become a swimming teacher.

Learn more about the Swimming Teacher Recruitment Academy and funded training.