Bournemouth swim teacher inspired to support young children into the water

When Emma Dobson’s daughter, Zoe, was diagnosed with the rare children’s cancer Neuroblastoma, she left her career as an architectural technologist to put her family first.

Enjoying those precious moments with Zoe made Emma realise the importance of spending more time with her loved ones.

Zoe sadly lost her battle with the disease and when Emma was ready to return to work, she was keen to ensure those new-found priorities would remain.

So she became a swimming teacher.

“After experiencing a big change in my life when I lost my daughter, my new career has given me so much” said Emma. “It’s helped support me to make sure I’m able to put my family first.”

Emma first became interested in a change of career when taking Zoe to her first swimming parent and child classes.

After Zoe died, Emma wanted to engage in a job that she was truly passionate about – and hasn’t looked back since becoming a swimming teacher.

Now based at Bournemouth’s Littledown BH Live Active, she relishes the chance to teach the youngest swimmers as they have their first experiences in the water.

It is that – coupled with being around her family more – which is what Emma enjoys about her role.

“Swim teaching has given me so much,” she said. “Working with all kinds of different people, and enjoying a career that suits me and who I am is amazing.

“Seeing the smiles on swimmer’s faces when they achieve something they never thought they could is so rewarding.

“I love teaching at a pre-school age, meeting new people and seeing what swimming does for them as a bonding activity.

“Knowing you are giving them an essential life skill, it feels like such important work and I am so glad to do it.

“My family is so important to me, and I have been able to live that side of my life to the full thanks to the flexibility of my career.

“I would urge anyone to reflect, as we come out of the pandemic, and think about what can really make them happy in terms of what they do for work, and how they choose to spend their time.

“For me, its swimming teaching, and it’s without doubt the best decision I have ever made.”

Emma is not alone.

Swim England research shows 96 per cent of swimming teachers in the UK love their job – and love giving back to the community to support children in developing an essential life skill.

Further data shows that more than half of swim teachers have previously held different careers and are even more likely to agree being on poolside gives them happiness, fulfilment and a good work/life balance.

As part of a drive to bring more swim teachers into the workforce, Swim England and 10 leading leisure operators have joined forces to inspire more people to become swimming teachers and support the nation post-Covid to become healthier, happier, and more physically active.

If, like Emma, you are keen to reflect on life priorities and are interested in becoming a swimming teacher, start your journey at