You may be able to work as a pool attendant or assistant, for example in a leisure centre, and take lifeguard qualifications on the job.
How to become a lifeguard
You can get into this job through:
- working towards this role
- training with professional bodies
If you want to work as a pool lifeguard you'll need one of the following qualifications:
To be a beach lifeguard, you'll need to complete the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ).
You can complete the qualifications by:
- joining a local club as a volunteer and training with them
- training with a professional body
Once you're qualified, you can also apply to work with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to enjoy working with other people
- excellent verbal communication skills
- being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.
Restrictions and requirements
You'll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
To qualify as a pool lifeguard, you'll need to:
- be able to swim 50 metres in less than one minute
- be able to swim 100 metres on your front and back without stopping
- surface dive to the deepest part of the pool
To qualify as a beach lifeguard you must have a good level of fitness and be able to swim in the sea to take the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification. You'll also be expected to meet more standards, such as:
- completion of a 400m pool swim in less than eight minutes
- making a surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
- treading water for two minutes
- climbing out of deep water unaided
You'll have to demonstrate these skills as part of an assessment.
What you'll do
As a pool or beach lifeguard you'll supervise swimming areas and help people in trouble. Your main tasks will include:
- making sure swimmers follow safety rules
- making sure people stay in safe areas
- rescuing swimmers in danger
- giving first aid
As a pool lifeguard, you’ll also be:
- advising swimmers on how to use diving boards and slides
- checking pool water temperature and chemicals
- cleaning the pool area and setting up/putting away equipment
As a beach lifeguard you’ll also be:
- monitoring sea conditions and setting up safety flags
- a point of contact for people on the beach
You could work at a fitness centre.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and hot.
Career path and progression
You could become a leisure centre manager with the National Pool Management Qualification.
Some pool lifeguards gain swimming teaching or coaching qualifications and give swimming lessons.
You could compete in lifeguarding competitions.
You could lead a team of lifeguards and train them.
Apprenticeships In England
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Courses In England
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