A SWIMMING Teachers' Academy has launched to prevent children from missing out on learning to swim.

The Institute of Swimming has partnered with Active Northumberland in a bid to solve a swimming teacher shortage.

The academy will offer local people the chance to retrain and embark on a career as a swimming teacher for just £79 - a fraction of the usual £1,000 cost.

Active Northumberland, which manages leisure facilities on behalf of Northumberland County Council, is looking to train and recruit 12 new swimming teachers across its ten leisure centres in Hexham, Prudhoe, Ponteland, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnwick, Rothbury, Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington and Morpeth.

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Swim England has said half a million children in England are currently missing out on learning to swim due to staff shortages, which have been exasperated through lockdowns and Brexit.

A survey of swimming pool operators, owners and swim schools found more than four in five are still struggling to meet the demand for swimming lessons – almost 12 months after pools reopened.

Mark Seymour, head of swimming, Active Northumberland, said: “We had to close our swimming lesson waiting lists when we returned from lockdown as they were becoming unmanageable, and we currently have high occupancy at 97 per cent in all our swimming lessons, across all our sites and at all levels.

"The Institute of Swimming’s revolutionary academy will help find and train new swimming teachers, allowing Active Northumberland to expand its Learn to Swim programme, cover staff sickness and relieve pressure by reducing the occupancy levels in our swimming lessons to 85 per cent per class, per stage, allowing for easier movement.

“We are passionate about delivering high-quality swimming lessons for our community and, by offering funded training opportunities through the recruitment academy, we aim to find passionate people who wish to embrace a career in swimming teaching.

"It is our vision to be the swim school of choice for every parent looking for fun, inspiring swimming lessons for their children and our swimming instructors are integral to us achieving this. 

“We value our exceptionally high standards and want swimming instructors on board that share our vision. With the opportunity to earn almost £13 per hour following training and casual or contracted employment available to the right candidates, we look forward to helping kick start our trainees’ journey into this aspiring career.”

“Teaching swimming is a very rewarding career, with flexible hours, that might suit someone who wants to supplement their existing income or to work around their caring or studying responsibilities", said Rebecca Cox, MD of the Institute of Swimming.

"We are looking to attract new people into the sector who may not have considered teaching swimming as a career opportunity. There are no educational restrictions to entering the training, and you don’t need to be an expert swimmer either.

"The recruitment academy seeks to offer the opportunity to become a swimming instructor to enthusiastic, local people who can offer their time and commitment in exchange for this funded training opportunity.”

The academy takes peope through the Swim England Level One Swimming Assistant (Teaching) Course and Level Two Teaching Swimming Qualification. In addition to the training, applicants will also receive a year’s membership to the Institute of Swimming and access to the online Introduction to Swimming Strokes - Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Anyone interested should complete an online form by May 22. To find out more or fill in the application form, visit swimming.org/ios/course-information/northumberland-academy