Courtesy: Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA)
In response to the crippling swimming teacher shortage in the UK, STA says it’s time to STAnd Up for Swimming and is pledging tens of thousands of charity funds in 2022 to train many hundreds of new swimming teachers around the UK, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
STA, an educational charity dedicated to ‘preserving human life by the teaching of swimming, lifesaving and survival techniques’ has grown increasingly concerned about the shortage of swimming teachers in the UK and the impact this is having on children being able to access swimming lessons and learn a key life skill.
Dave Candler, STA’s CEO, says as an industry we cannot afford to wait around any longer, and we think it’s time to stop the talking and take action – and as the programme says “STAnd Up for Swimming” – stand up for all those involved in grassroots swimming … swim schools, swim operators and our future young swimmers … by taking a proactive stance and tackling this issue head-on now.
He said: “There has always been a swimming teaching shortage in the UK but the pandemic has exacerbated the situation, meaning there are thousands of children sitting on waiting lists for swimming lessons. We therefore urgently need to attract new people to the swimming teaching profession so we can start reducing these swim school waiting lists.”
“We know one of the main issues is the cost of training, and with STAnd Up for Swimming we are removing this barrier for all swim schools through the provision of free training. The aim over the course of 2022 is to qualify hundreds of new Level 2 swimming teachers – who once qualified will then be able to hit the deck running, as inclusive employment opportunities, with good rates of pay (upwards of £15 an hour), are far-reaching in both the public and private sector,” confirmed Dave.
“2022, is also STA’s 90th anniversary and to mark this we wanted to do something big, something that would have a huge impact on the swimming teaching industry, to help ALL swim schools who are struggling at the moment to attract and recruit teachers – ultimately for STA as a charity too, more swimming teachers means we can teach more children to learn how to swim,” said Dave.
STAnd Up for Swimming will officially launch in January 2022, with the first STA Level 2 Award in Teaching Swimming course taking place in Leeds.
Dave adds: “This is going to require a gigantic effort by STA and its delivery partners, but if by the end we have successfully trained hundreds of new swimming teachers, it will all be worth it, because those hundreds of teachers will then go on to teach thousands upon thousands of children a key life skill. In the process, we are also bringing all the benefits of becoming a swimming teacher to the conversation to show what a worthwhile career choice it is for people of all ages and from all backgrounds.”
In April 2021, nearly a half of all the swim school owners STA surveyed said they have lost swimming teachers and that this will have a financial impact on their business – as well as impacting on how many children they can teach now. In preparation for the roll-out of STAnd Up for Swimming in January 2022, STA has launched a new nationwide swim school survey to understand which geographical areas need to be prioritised first and where waiting lists for swimming lessons are at the highest ready for the application process to start.