New partnership aims to address Victorian swim teacher shortage
SWIMMING industry personnel across greater Geelong are happy funds are being put into the industry to help raise teaching numbers, but remain wary of the challenges going forward.
Amid the gradual increase of teaching shortages across the state, a $3.4 million dollar partnership between the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) and Jobs Victoria has thrown a life-ring to pools all over the state, as well as those in Geelong.
The announcement between ASCTA and Jobs Victoria is set to enable up to 280 jobseekers to access an income while completing the accredited training required to become a swim teacher.
Employment Minister Jaala Pulford, who recently made the announcement, said Victorians were eager to get back in the pool post lockdown.
“Jobs Victoria is working hard to meet a severe shortage of skilled swim teachers this summer and for the summers ahead,” MP Pulford said.
“It’s vital we have the swim teachers we need to keep everyone safe in the water.”
The new recruits will receive tailored support including job-readiness training, dedicated individual mentoring and work equipment funding, while completing the nationally accredited Swim Australia Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety course, first-aid, and CPR training.
As pools renew their pre-COVID practices there are pools across the city trying to curb teachers that are not returning to work.
Geelong Aquatic Centre owner George Gill said his business has recently been conducting qualification days to either renew outdated Aust Swim licences or help complete new licences for new teaches to enable his teachers to come back to work as quickly as possible.
Last week alone, Mr Gill had almost 30 teachers in attendance participating on the day to renew their teaching licenses.
“Unfortunately, but necessarily, after you complete the course, it doesn’t mean you can teach,” Mr Gill said.
“You have to complete hours and pass an exam, which in some circumstances can take up to a month or two to polish off these parts of the licensing process.
“With pools understaffed, these courses don’t help in the short run, but they do help in the long run.”
Despite the courses, Mr Gill also cites the lack of international students as another reason for the nationwide shortage of instructors.
“There’s a complete lack of overseas students, which many pools rely very heavily on to survive,” Mr Gill added.
“As a result, we just don’t seem to have the numbers that we did before the pandemic, so these extra funds from Jobs Victoria will hopefully encourage others to dip their foot into a bit of teaching.”
A recent survey by ASCTA revealed 28 per cent of Victorians would consider becoming a swim teacher.
People looking for work can register and apply for roles – including as a swim teacher – at the Jobs Victoria online Hub at www.jobs.vic.gov.au, a free service that matches employers with skilled, local candidates.