Led by the RNLI, the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) was established in 2014 to create a uniform, minimum national vocational standard. The foundation of this arrangement was an agreement between SLSA Wales, RLSS and SLSGB for a common award assessment criteria and that no changes would be made without prior consultation and agreement by all the training organisations.
Since 2014 no changes had been made. However, due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and the risks associated by close physical contact during training and rescue procedures, changes needed to be considered. Unfortunately, without any prior notice or agreement, changes were introduced nationally by one organisation. The impact was an immediate and significant lowering of the essential standards of the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification relating to the demonstration of the fitness and rescue skills needed to save a life. This was completely unacceptable to SLSGB and created a very difficult situation when it became clear that there was no effective or immediate mechanism to deal with this.
Although the errant assessment guidance is now replaced with an updated version, the unilateral action by one organisation with no mechanism to sanction has undermined our trust in the common interest. Accordingly, we have decided to pull back from a unified arrangement for the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Award Assessment and with immediate effect will cease to use the NVBLQ title. We will cooperate with all involved as and when required in the best interests of safety and lifesaving.
SLSGB is fortunate to have the best people available for our Lifesaving and Clinical Guidance. They have provided us with COVID-19 safe training and assessment criteria maintaining the provision of Lifeguard training and assessment standards demonstrating the essential fitness and rescue skills needed to save a life. This was robustly tested and launched with revised training and assessment guidance together with TA training. We will continue to support all our Lifesaving Awards with the best available updated guidance when needed.
What Does this mean for our Beach Lifeguard Award?
- We continue to meet the national vocational standards
- The RNLI has confirmed that they will continue to accept the SLSGB Beach Lifeguard Award.
- The SLSGB Beach Lifeguard Award is recognised by ILS for International Certificates of Competence
- The SLSGB Surf Lifeguard Award remains our exclusive highest Lifeguard award
Footnote: SLSGB and SLSA Wales continue to work together as trusted lifesaving partners