Following the announcement of its strategic partnership with Swim England, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has seen an unprecedented boost in take-up of their Rookie Lifeguard Instructor courses. The partnership was quick to focus on making it easy for leisure centres to get their existing swimming teachers qualified to teach the Rookie Lifeguard programme and in response, launched a new route to qualification starting from only £10. The response was an additional 500 instructors qualifying since March and in turn, this has made an extra 23,000+ awards available to young lifesavers making the Rookie Lifeguard programme now more accessible than ever. Serco Leisure Ltd, David Lloyd Clubs and Freedom Leisure, some of the UK’s best-known multi-site leisure operators, have been quick to snap up Rookie Lifeguard Instructors to meet a growing demand for the programme, with sites hosting Rookie Lifeguard taster sessions, right across June’s RLSS UK Drowning Prevention Week campaign, throughout August’s #BeaRookieLifeguard campaign and beyond.
Having just completed her very first Rookie Lifeguard taster session, nineyear- old Grace said: “There were a lot of different things to do, some of the exercises were quite hard too. I really enjoyed it all though, especially the timed races – I tried my best to beat everyone!” As a natural next step after completion of Swim England’s ‘Learn to Swim’ Swim Stage 7, Rookie Lifeguard is a hugely popular and rewarding award scheme. It equips children not just with essential water safety and lifesaving skills but also, the confidence to use them. The programme has been designed to be flexible, robust and crucially, good fun too. Its format means it can be run as a stand-alone course by lifesaving clubs, leisure centres and swimming schools or as part of school swimming lessons. With three levels to achieve and stages within each level, it helps retain learner swimmers by providing a pathway to reach a higher level of swimming ability.
Rookie Lifeguard is an excellent retention tool for leisure operators, encouraging young people to maintain and develop their swimming prowess, offering a fun and engaging way of learning and maintaining lifesaving skills, even training the next generation of lifeguards! “We’ve seen a real upturn in young swimmers through our doors since we first introduced the Rookie Lifeguard programme and demand continues to grow,” said Louise Wells, Training Manager for Leeds City Council. “Swimming plays a huge part of our provision, so it’s important we can offer something more for our youngsters, beyond simply swimming lengths, once they’ve learned to swim. “We mirror RLSS UK’s belief that swimming is the first line of defence against drowning – ups killing more of our instructors to teach Rookie Lifeguard goes a long way to ensuring our young people and our wider community, is a safe place to be.” A Rookie Lifeguard’s skill set sets them apart from their peers: with skills that could save a life and the confidence to use them, leisure operators, youth groups, swim teachers and community leaders, can be assured that a Rookie Lifeguard is an asset to any community. For more information on the Rookie Lifeguard programme or to become an instructor please visit www.rlss.org.uk/rookie-lifeguard