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Young People Make a Splash in Swim Helpers Academy

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An innovative swimming scheme is making a positive impact on the lives of Coventry teenagers.

Coventry Sports Foundation is helping young people gain qualifications, experience and life skills through its Swim Helpers Academy.

The programme gives participants the chance to learn on the job, help teach children how to swim and have the chance of becoming a fully-fledged swimming instructor.

Launched in April, the Swim Helpers Academy currently has 19 young people, aged between 13 and 16-years-old, taking part.

Based at the Xcel Leisure Centre in Mitchell Avenue and Centre AT7 in Bell Green Road, teenagers assist qualified instructors during swimming lessons.

While carrying out their work, they progress through bronze, silver and gold levels and can then move forward with training to be a swimming instructor.

Certain criteria have to be met in the three levels including completing a number of hours’ work, being punctual and reliable, engaging and offering guidance to children and using their own initiative.

The bronze level is voluntary, but those who take part get free membership to facilities, and then participants get paid as they progress to silver and gold.

Once young people have progressed through all the stages they can then move on to their Level 1 Swimming Instructor qualification.

Wendy Jackson, community development manager at Coventry Sports Foundation, was full of praise for the programme and the young people involved.

“This is a unique scheme as it not only inspires young people, but it also helps them build on skills for the working world,” he/she said.

“They learn communication skills, it gives them confidence and gets them ready for the world of work as they have to be punctual, reliable and dressed appropriately, so it is incredibly beneficial for them.

“The Swim Helpers Academy is also a fantastic way to not only provide young people with a useful qualification, but to also promote safety in the water as well.

“Since it was launched in April, we have seen many of the young people benefit in so many ways.

“One participant didn’t know what they wanted to do after school and now has aspirations of becoming a swimming teacher.

“This scheme shows the positives of organisations working with this particular age group and keeping them engaged in sport.

“We have watched the assistants grow in confidence and most are already using their own initiative and they have become a real asset.”

Anyone who would like more information about the Swim Helpers Academy and how to get involved should contact swim teacher development co-ordinator, Ravi Nakra, by emailing RNakra@covsf.com.

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