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IOS and Swim England Charity launch support for Ukrainian swimming family

Ukrainian swimming teachers who have been forced to flee the invasion are being offered the chance to gain a world-renowned qualification free of charge.

The Institute of Swimming and Swim England Charity have launched a two-part initiative to help resettle those who have arrived in the UK as part of the Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family Sponsorship scheme.

A bespoke training offer will allow Ukrainian swimming teachers to gain their Swim England Qualifications (SEQ) Level 1 and Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualifications at no cost to themselves.

The retraining opportunity will be funded by the Institute of Swimming, partnering leisure providers and Swim England Qualifications (SEQ).

The Institute of Swimming’s partners will provide the trainee teachers with mentorship and practical work experience, ensuring they have the necessary capabilities for the role.

They will also be provided with Institute of Swimming membership – with associated insurance coverage and benefits – and be matched with partnering leisure providers to offer local employment across England.

Joint ambition to support Ukrainian teachers

Ukrainian national, Irina, who will shortly be embarking on the teaching retraining programme said: “There has been so much sadness and I am worried for my country.

“On top of this, I have been so anxious that wouldn’t be able to teach swimming in England or find employment.

“To know that I can retrain and achieve my qualifications as well as teach again is very positive news for me and I am thankful.”

Rebecca Cox, Institute of Swimming managing director, said: “As the Institute of Swimming, alongside Swim England Qualifications and our partners, we have a joint ambition to do everything we can to support Ukrainian teachers find employment and be welcomed into our sector.

“This opportunity will see them be able to gain the necessary qualifications, and alongside the support they will receive, I am confident that they will be both wonderful assets to the national workforce and gain huge enjoyment from being back in the profession they love.

“We have the ambition to extend this programme to refugees from other countries, who were swimming teachers in their home country and have resettled in England, and we will share further details shortly.”

The Swim England Charity is also offering a one-off bursary of £150 to clubs who have welcomed a Ukraine swimmer. This will be a contribution to the overall financial support that clubs are providing, and can be used by the committee to directly support the swimmers’ resettlement journey.

Alongside this, all Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family Sponsorship scheme swimmers will be provided with a Swim England membership at no cost.

Making a difference

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “We have seen a number of Swim England families open their homes and Swim England clubs open their doors with such generosity to Ukrainian swimmers.

“We understand those families will struggle to cover additional training fees as well, and therefore many clubs have waived training fees in the short term to these swimmers. The bursary from the Swim England Charity will be a contribution to this and other costs.

“We are also supporting by waiving the Swim England membership fee for these swimmers until the end of the year.

“I would personally like to extend my thank you to those committees and the coaches who have made it possible for swimmers to join their clubs – you are really making a difference to their lives.”

Angela Lake, co-chair of Loughborough Town Swimming Club, who will shortly be welcoming an 11-year swimmer from Kyiv, said: “The bursary from the Swim England Charity will be a valuable contribution to the financial support the committee has already approved to ensure this talented Ukrainian swimmer can join our club.

“We hope that being back in the water with a sport she loves – training and competing with our club – will bring her lots of happiness after a difficult time.”

To find out more about the retraining programme and apply, please visit www.swimming.org/ios/ukrainian-swimming-teachers/

Clubs wanting more information on the Swim England Charity Bursary should contact ukrainebursary@swimming.org – while donations to the Swim England Charity can be made by visiting the donation page here.

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