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Swim teacher Sola
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More swim teachers needed, says Swim England

Swim England has revealed that an estimated 667,000 children across the UK will miss out on lessons due to an instructor shortage

A campaign has been launched to highlight the vital community value of swimming teachers as Swim England research has revealed that an estimated 667,000 children across the UK will miss out on lessons due to an instructor shortage.

With nationwide water safety a concern heading into the summer months, and an expected further influx of people wanting to learn to swim ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics, the leisure and aquatics sector has come together to highlight the essential contribution of swimming teachers in keeping our communities safe, happy and healthy.

In response to the data and as part of the latest ‘Love Swimming’ campaign, Swim England and a collaboration of leisure partners are calling on people to consider the benefits of switching career paths and taking on a more fulfilling profession.

Concerning shortages

Current teacher shortages have stopped Learn to Swim providers increasing their programmes, meaning many miss out on the opportunity to learn to enjoy water safely.

In order to grow these programmes, it is estimated there would need to be another 26,000 hours of lessons every week across the country.

Swim teachers like Sola Alegbe (pictured) play a vital role in ensuring people who learn to swim find confidence in the water – those with a career in swim teaching themselves also reporting high levels of satisfaction, flexibility and fulfilment.

Previously working in an occupation that led to high stress and a lack of everyday enjoyment, Sola explained: “I worked for Transport for London as a revenue inspector – there was always conflict, aggression and altercations but with teaching I am always smiling. It is a really nice community feel, switching from my old job is the best thing that ever happened to me.

“It was in my old job that I became ill, I started swimming for health reasons and that is how I found my love for it. The thing I love most about being a swim teacher now is the fact that I am able to give back and teach a life skill. For me, teaching is everything.”

“Becoming a swimming teacher gives you so much flexibility, you can do it in the evening or the morning and even if you have a job already, you can swim teach alongside it. I would definitely recommend anyone to become a swim teacher, your age does not matter, it really is the best job in the world.”

A fulfilling career

Previous Swim England research has shown 96% of swimming teachers in the UK love their job, and love giving back to the community to support children in developing an essential life skill.

Swim England business engagement director, Rebecca Cox, added: “This is a hugely important campaign for us and a chance to celebrate the incredible work swimming teachers across the nation do. Being able to swim safely at the beach with your family and friends, or confidently take your children to the local pool is only possible thanks to the amazing support from teachers.

“Our research has shown the need for more swim teachers to ensure everyone has access to lessons, and we can keep everyone safe to enjoy being in the water. We all know that swimming is an essential life skill – but for so many across the nation it is the gateway to creating amazing memories with your family, becoming healthier and happier, and achieving full confidence in the water.

“Our research has also shown this is a really fulfilling career option, with those who teach reporting a higher level of happiness compared to other careers. If you love making a positive difference in your community, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.”

Interested in learning to be a swim instructor? Start your journey by searching “swim teacher” in your chosen search engine, or head to Swim England’s Teaching Swimming Hub.

Photo: Sam Mellish / Swim England

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.