Working in Water: An employment pathway that will have you in the swim!


By Warren Heggarty

It may surprise you how many employment opportunities there are in the field of sport. Leisure and Recreation is a major employment category and to give you some idea of what is out there, we will zero in on just one activity: SWIMMING. 

The ability to swim and to be safe in water (pools, inland waters and surf) is crucial in this country, especially as 90 per cent of the population live near the coast. Further inland though, you have the  40 degree plus summer days that are a regular feature of the bush and the outer Western suburbs of Sydney. 

Besides, swimming is fun and so learning to swim is something with a high demand. Older people too can benefit from swimming because it is a low impact physical activity that gives a good workout for the muscles without wrecking your knees, for example. 

IIt’s not just summer, though. Penrith swimming pool was a bit quiet when we photographed it above in the middle of winter, but there are plenty of indoor swimming centres that go year round and people who go fishing really ought to learn to swim. 

Some of the roles which attract reasonable pay include the following which we located by looking at the AUSTSWIM site:

  • Swimming instructor
  • Seasonal pool lifeguard (Summer work)
  • Lifeguards in indoor pools
  • Surf life savers
  • Swimming centre manager
  • Water safety instructor
  • Diving coach
  • Volunteer worker at swimming competitions
  • Fitness centre worker/manager
  • Squad coach for elite swimmers, rowers or synchronised swimmers

And then there are positions such as hydrotherapy or physiotherapy workers, some of whose time might be spent in the pool. Not to mention Aqua/ Water aerobics!

All of these jobs have one thing in common. You need to get a qualification that says you can handle yourself in the water and perform necessary first aid if someone gets in trouble. Two of the qualifications that employers ask for include:

  • Teacher of swimming and water safety (Swim Australia)
  • First Aid Certificate, including Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Then there are some specialist qualifications depending on the type of person you are working with, for example, Infant and preschool aquatics. 

How do you get such qualificaitons? AUSTSWIM teacher of swimming and water safety qualifications are run over 16-20 contact hours and equip you with knowledge suitable to gain a licence. There are NO PREREQUISITES other than a reasonable level of fitness. Read more about it at NSW Royal Lifesaving’s web site. It is packed full of interesting information for the aquatically minded.

So what are you waiting for? Summer is coming. Make a splash!

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