After COVID-19 lockdowns severely interrupted swimming lessons around Australia, AUSTSWIM used a $250,000 grant for its Creating Jobs, Saving Lives Program in 2022.
The program funded three-year registration renewals for 924 swimming and water safety teachers who were at risk of leaving the profession, and AUSTSWIM CEO Bradley Low says the investment has already paid dividends.
He said 89% of the teachers were now back teaching regularly, and 42% of those were based in regional areas where shortages were often most apparent.
“There was a genuine appreciation and gratitude from the teachers, and I think that has led to them wanting to give more back, and maybe pick up extra shifts,” Mr Low said.
Swimming and water safety teaching was particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, with pools closed across the country. Many teachers, most employed as casuals, had to find other work so there was a risk swimming schools would struggle to bring them back as restrictions eased.
Easing the financial burden of renewing registrations has helped keep swimming and water safety teachers connected and ensure they returned to the pool.
AUSTSWIM has trained more than 360,000 teachers in swimming and water safety since 1979 and continues to train about 13,000 instructors each year.
Mr Low said it was a very rewarding job.
“You’re teaching a child a skill that one day might save their life,” he said. “You can help a child who, on their first lesson, might be terrified of the water and then and then after a few lessons they’re suddenly excited by it.”
While it was often the ideal job for older teenagers looking for part-time work, AUSTSWIM also had several teachers such as new parents looking for flexible work or people in their 40s, 50s and 60s seeking something completely different.
The ASC’s Participation Grant Program invested in innovative programs that aimed to help more Australians enjoy the social, personal and health benefits of participating in community sport and physical activity.
Read more about the program at the ASC Grants and Funding page.