Hackney swim teacher urges more to take the plunge to support communities

Hackney-based swim teacher Sola Alegbe traded a job that was having an adverse impact on her health for life as a swim teacher and she could not be happier.

Sola is calling on more people to consider swim teaching as an alternative or additional career after research by Swim England revealed that an estimated 667,000 children across the UK will miss out on lessons due to an instructor shortage.

A former revenue inspector at Transport for London, Sola unfortunately fell ill at her previous job in a role rife with stress and confrontation, only to discover her love for swimming. Now teaching across both Hackney and Islington, she has made a profound impact, inspiring more young people to get into the water and ensuring that every community is safe, happy and healthy.

Sola explained: “I worked as a revenue inspector – there was always conflict, aggression and altercations but with teaching I am always smiling. It is a really nice community feel with the different people from the area that you meet in a positive environment.

“Switching from my old job is the best thing that ever happened to me. It was in my old job that I became ill and was sick for a number of years. I started swimming for health reasons and that is how I found my love for it.

“For me, it’s so rewarding watching my swimmers grow and build confidence. The thing I love most about being a swim teacher now is the fact that I am able to give back and teach a life skill. For me, teaching is everything.

“Becoming a swimming teacher gives you so much flexibility, you can do it in the evening or the morning and even if you have a job already you can swim teach alongside it. I would definitely recommend anyone to become a swim teacher, your age does not matter, it really is the best job in the world.”

Expecting a further influx of people wanting to learn to swim ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics, Sola is leading calls for more people to consider the benefits of switching career paths and taking on a more fulfilling profession, as swim teachers report higher levels of satisfaction, flexibility and fulfilment.

Swim England business engagement director, Rebecca Cox, added: “Amazing teachers like Sola deserve to be recognised for the incredible work they do – this is an invaluable contribution to their local community which makes a real difference.

“We all know that swimming is an essential life skill – but for so many across the nation it is the gateway to creating amazing memories with your family, becoming healthier and happier, and achieving full confidence in the water.

“Our research has also shown this is a really fulfilling career option, with those who teach reporting a higher level of happiness compared to other careers. If you love making a positive difference in your community, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.”

If you’re interested in a happier and healthier work environment like Sola, click here to start your journey today.