New swim teachers | ourballarat winter 2023

With pools across the state closed during the pandemic, many swimming teachers left the profession to find work elsewhere. When pools finally reopened again, there was a chronic short supply of swimming teachers.

Swim teachers

However, following a successful recruitment campaign, Ballarat Aquatic & Lifestyle Centre (BALC) has attracted a new cohort of swimming teachers from a range of different backgrounds.

With 20 years of experience as a swim teacher and lifeguard in Iran, Ali Mansouri is back in the pool as a swimming teacher at the BALC.

Ali’s return to the pool follows a 12-year break after moving to Australia, during which time he worked as a soccer coach. Despite this break, Ali is excited to be back in the pool.

“I love it because it’s a sports environment,” he says.

“It’s a great job and everyone is really nice.” 

Recruiting swim teachers to meet demand

Ali is one of more than 30 new swimming teachers at BALC following a state-wide swimming teacher shortage because of the pandemic.

BALC Manager Gerald Dixon says many of these new swimming teachers have come from diverse cultural and work backgrounds.

“This cohort of swimming teachers represent the growing diversity of the Ballarat community,” he says.

The effective recruitment drive led to BALC’s success in attracting and training the new cohort of swim teachers, Gerald says.

“There’s a high demand for the ‘Learn to Swim’ program, so we needed these swim teachers to service the community,” he says.

Throughout 2022, 37 schools from across the region participated in BALC’s ‘Learn to Swim’ program — just shy of 4,000 individual students. Additionally, there are 1,500 students currently enrolled in the general ‘Learn to Swim’ program, which, depending on the age group, is generally held after school.

“We don’t see a drop off of swimming lessons over winter, as swimming is a skill that requires repetition,” Gerald says.

“The demand is still so high that we’ve had to recruit another cohort of swim teachers to support the growth of the ‘Learn to Swim’ program.” 

Developing vital life skills

While learning to swim is a vital life skill in itself, there are a range of other benefits for children learning to swim.

“Swimming is a tremendous amount of exercise, it promotes good health and wellbeing, general motor skill development, and it’s a great way to interact with other students,” Gerald says.

“We’ve had students come in that are afraid of water, having not been able to develop their swimming skills before, and with the right program and support, been able to participate in school swim sports, with great success.”

City of Ballarat Council Plan Alignment

The projects, initiatives, and ideas in this article align with the following goals of the City of Ballarat Council Plan 2021-2025:

Goal 2 
A healthy, connected and inclusive community