Surf Life Saving GB in association with South West Water, has launched a new initiative in the South West among its 14-16 year old members called the
Graduate Lifeguard Programme. They will be responsible for increasing water safety awareness among their peers by giving a series of presentations to schools and clubs in the region. There is a growing number of people drowning along the UK coast – a high proportion of which are under 16 – and it is hoped these presentations will give this vulnerable group the information they need to be safe in the sea.
The GLP has been piloted in four Surf Life Saving Clubs in the South West – Lusty Glaze, Porthtowan, Saunton Sands and Teignmouth. The Graduates will embark on a three year programme to develop their lifesaving and sport leadership skills. They undertake 12 units covering surf life saving skills, first aid, beach safety and personal development. The programme culminates in the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification at the age of 16. The Programme has been designed to run in tandem with the Sports Leaders UK’s Young Leaders Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, giving each Graduate the opportunity to learn invaluable life skills and gain qualifications to enhance their future education and career choices.
One of the Graduates on the Programme, said: “The Graduate Lifeguard Programme gives us junior members a real focus to improve our lifesaving skills and learn about all aspects of beach and water safety. It has really improved my confidence – not only in the water – but in everyday life.”
“Giving a presentation on water safety to my year group at school was really daunting – but they were very receptive and said they learnt how to be safe on the beach – which makes me feel really proud of what we are doing. But it’s not all work and no play; there are many hours spent on the beach, enjoying the surf, getting fit and having fun – which is why it appeals to so many of us.”
From April the Programme will be run out across another nine Surf Life Saving Clubs with Graduate Lifeguards spreading the water safety message across an estimated 150,000 people. It is hoped soon all 70 Clubs will be able to offer the Programme to its junior members.
SLSGB Chairman Pete Lawrence, said: “With the help of South West Water we have been able to launch this Graduate Lifeguard Programme for our junior members which brings a new and valuable dimension to SLSGB’s lifesaving activity. Most drowning is preventable, but young people need to be equipped with some water safety awareness to avoid getting into dangerous situations. Our Graduate Lifeguards are tasked with delivering this message and we feel peer to peer is the most effective way of doing this.”
Monica Read, Sustainability Director for South West Water said, “Supporting our communities is hugely important to South West Water and this programme to prevent drowning of young people at risk is an initiative that we are proud to be associated with. Our bathing waters are among the cleanest in Europe and we want people to be able to enjoy them safely. As an Investor in People we are also hugely impressed with the personal development that the Graduate Lifeguards will enjoy and believe that for most this will be a positive life skill enhancing experience.”
If you would like to sign up to the programme, either as a club or a graduate, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org