The Aquatic Industry
The Aquatics Industry unit of study examines the large variety of aquatic activities available, the main aquatic organisations that service this industry and potential employment prospects and career pathways for swimming and water safety Teachers.
The majority of Australians (and inhabitants of many regions of the world) have historically resided near the coastline and along inland waterways, using these environs as a ready source of food, transportation and recreation. Thus swimming is entrenched in many cultures as a necessary part of the everyday life.
Today, the level of economic development of a nation directly impacts upon the likely drowning toll of that nation. As a general trend, the higher the economic development the lower the drowning rate. This may be due to affluent societies having:
• greater control and governance over the quality of water transport and swimming pools
• more children taught to swim
• higher quality and more abundant water safety education programs
• less need for individuals to fend for food from aquatic environments
A Brief History of Swimming and Water Safety...
Records from the earliest time of Aboriginal and European settlement show that Australians have been at risk in aquatic environments with many drowning over the years.
As development spread, the urban footprint tended to follow the line of easiest transport routes which usually meant along waterways and the coastline.
Due to this close proximity to water, the need for the general population to have knowledge of and ability for swimming and water safety was born out of necessity for survival. This necessity still exists today.
The life saving movement commenced operations in Australia in the 1890’s and formalised into a movement in 1907 in response to the increasing risk of injury to recreational swimmers as people began to “enter the water” more and more. From the 1880’s to around the beginning of the 1900’s swimming groups organising competitions began to form in each state. With the speed of transportation increasing, competitions began to take place until today we have many local, regional, state and national competitions
Swimming Around the World
Swimming around the world varies greatly from culture to culture. Some cultures rely greatly on water for food and transport, yet do not venture into the water to “swim”. Children in some cultures seemingly have an innate fear of water either through the actions of parents or lack of opportunity to gain swimming and survival skills in water.
The concept of being taught to swim is largely unheard of in all but the OECD countries (Organisation of Economically Developed Countries) excepting that international schools in the hotter third world countries with western trained Teachers do conduct lessons. As a result, the drowning toll in many underdeveloped countries is much higher. Raw statistics from some third world countries suggest many drownings occur within 20 metres of the victim’s residence.
Wherever there is water there is a need for people to know basic swimming and water safety skills.
Swimming and Water Safety Within Australian Culture
Some telling statistics in Australia:
- 1 in 5 residences have a pool. Many other homes have rivers, canals,
dams or lakes in close proximity
- there are over 7,000 accessible ocean beaches
- there are an estimated 60,000,000 annual beach visitations
- after car accidents, drowning is the biggest preventable cause of childhood
fatalities in children and youth of Australia
- more Queensland children under 5 year of age were drowning than were
dying in car accidents prior to the introduction of pool fencing legislation
- for every drowning there are 4 near drowning incidences that require hospitalization
- it is estimated to cost the community between AUD$370,000 and
AUD$463,511 per drowning death or approximately AUD $100 million each year overall
- Surf Life Saving Australia has over 300 clubs patrolling over 400 beaches
and over 165,000 members, rescuing more than 11,000 people each year
In the international arena, Australia is recognised for its strong competitive performance in elite swimming, masters swimming and lifesaving competitions especially when measured on a per capita basis.
Australia’s performance in associated competitive activities and the ease of accessibility to water also drives a desire by the majority of the population to gain proficient aquatic skills. This educational demand has lead to a large number of schools investing in quality aquatic facilities to enhance their students’ learning. Local government councils have also invested heavily in aquatic facilities for the general community. A more professionally managed approach by swim schools has also seen a rise in the number of commercially built facilities.
A whole sector of the aquatic sport and recreation industry has evolved around the teaching, administration, training, servicing and delivery of aquatic education. Countless Australians are alive today, thanks to their own personal survival skills or to the efforts of volunteer and paid lifesavers, lifeguards and bystanders utilising skills learnt through the myriad of swimming and lifesaving organisations operating at national, state and local level.
With aquatic environments being so accessible, Australians have increasingly found more creative ways to play in the water. The aquatic environment is now an intrinsic part of everyday Australian life from “womb to tomb”. This may be for work, recreation or some other form of activity.
Below are the many and varied environments.
- Swimming training and competitions,
- Water Polo
- Synchronised Swimming
- High Diving
- Underwater Hockey
- Deep water running
- Fin Swimming
- Open water
- Distance swimming
- Water Skiing
- Wake boarding
- Para gliding
- Surfing/Kite boarding
- Body boarding
- Surf skiing
- Spear Fishing
Swimming and Water Safety Organisations
Australia has a well defined group of peak aquatic organisations delivering a range of services to constituents. Swim Australia Teachers should know about these major organisations and the roles they play in the aquatics Industry.
This understanding will assist with whatever future pathway a Teacher may choose to follow and provide some direction for further training and teaching resources.
Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA)
Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) www.ascta.com is the industry body for Swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers.
ASCTA offers membership to swimming Coaches and Teachers. First year non-voting membership is included as part of entry level coaching or teaching courses (including ASCTA Teacher membership for trainees of the Swim Australia™ Teacher course)
• a range of support services via its website
• resources for purchase such as books, videos, CDs, DVDs
• registration and accreditation for Coaches and Teachers
• ongoing professional development via journals, emails and websites
• swim school services, support and promotion via Swim Australia
• training courses and professional development via asctaAccreditation and VET recognised training via asctaCOLLEGE.
• conferences and workshops
• website advertising employment vacancies both domestic and international
• sample employment contracts
Swim Australia www.swimaustralia.org.au is a division of the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, that was launched in 1997 to develop "learn to swim" in Australia to its full potential; resulting in all Australians learning to swim and gaining water safety knowledge through safe and enjoyable swimming lessons.
Swim Australia’s mission is to; help all Australians become safer, smarter and stronger through swimming. This is primarily achieved by developing and empowering our swim school network through the delivery of world’s best practice guidelines, professional development programs, growth opportunities and business support. It’s also about fun, and knowing Aussies are safer in and around water, as a result of their Swim Australia Registered Swim School experience, and their resulting knowledge.
To this end, Swim Australia:
• registers Swim Schools that meet industry standards as determined by ASCTA
• promotes the many excellent benefits of learning to swim and water safety
• provides the Swim Australia Registered Swim Schools with products, services and professional development programs to significantly enhance their operation. Swim Australia is endorsed by Swimming Australia and the Federal Government’s Active Australia.
Swim Australia has over 600 registered swim schools Australia –wide and internationally. Swim Australia can assist if you are setting up your own swim school.
asctaACCREDITATION is the educational division of ASTCA. asctaACCREDITATION oversees the delivery of ASCTA training and education programs via the ASCTA Registered Training Organisation status and assists in the development of training management systems and quality assurance of courses.
asctaACCREDITATION oversees the delivery of the following entry-level courses:
· Swim Australia™ Teacher (SAT)
· Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming (SAT CS)
· Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Babies and Toddlers (SAT B&T)
Once students have completed the above pre-requisite course or courses, they can go on to take further specialist training in the following areas:
· Adults and Adolescents (SAT AA)
· Learners with a Disability (SAT LWD)
· Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (SAT CALD)
asctaACCREDITATION also accredits professional development opportunities, such as “in-house training” at swim schools and in conjunction with some state associations offers other coaching courses.
asctaACCREDITATION provides other training opportunities such as a self-paced Swimming Pool Plant Operations course by correspondence and plans to release further teaching specialist courses in the near future.
In 2015 ASCTA launched asctaCOLLEGE which is a progressive, industry specific, education program within a VET regulated system which provides swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers with the knowledge and resources required to professionally develop themselves and the organisation in which they operate. Not only will Teachers and Coaches have the ability to continue their journey along the Swimming Australia Coach Accreditation Pathway they will now have access to a vast array of world class Learner Resources, specifically designed to create truly outstanding practitioners throughout our sport.
Should you have suggestions to improve any of ASCTA’s course please submit these in writing to asctaACCREDITATION. Contributors whose submissions are used will be acknowledged in subsequent releases of the course.
Swimming Australia Ltd (SAL)
Swimming Australia Ltd (SAL) www.swimming.org.au is the peak body for the sport of swimming in Australia. SAL and its state affiliates conduct state and national competitions for age groupers and elite swimmers in short course (25 metre pools), long course (50 metre pools) and open water for both able bodied and swimmers with a disability.
Swimming Australia consists of the following member organisations:
• State and territory swimming associations
• Australian Swimmers Association Inc.
Swimming Australia has a range of programs to assist the sport to grow such as:
• accredited training for coaches
• accredited training for officials
• incentive programs for members e.g. “Go Swim”
• swimming club development assistance and promotion via programs e.g. “Go Club”
Via their state associations, SAL delivers Bronze and Silver coaching courses as well as coaching extension courses relating to Open Water Swimming and Swimming with a Disability.
Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA)
Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA) www.fina.org is the world swimming governing body. SAL is the only organisation representing Australia in FINA.
FINA governs swimming worldwide from its base in Lausanne, Switzerland and determines what the competitive rules of swimming, high diving, synchronised swimming, open water swimming, masters swimming and water polo shall be and oversees international events in all these disciplines.
Other countries have a similar peak body to SAL either specializing in aquatics or acting as the Olympic Games liaising agency for swimming.
Some strongly competitive swimming countries such as USA, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, Sweden and New Zealand have some system of accreditation for Teachers and Coaches, but generally recognise the Australian issued certificates through some sort of crossover arrangement.
Internationally, other organisations such as Red Cross and YMCA are also involved in delivering and training Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety.
To contact overseas swimming organisations visit the FINA website for links to all affiliated nations.
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)
Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA) www.slsa.com.au lifesavers have saved more than 530,000 lives since 1907. Surf Life Saving Australia has over 165,000 members, of all ages, in over 400 surf lifesaving clubs around the Australia coastline. Females were first admitted as full members of Surf Life Saving Australia in 1980 and now make up around 41 per cent of its total membership. Community education plays a vital role in aquatic safety. SLSA provides a number of courses that help understand the surf, along with community courses in first aid and resuscitation.
School education programs provide a popular and important introduction to the surf environment for many children. SLSA currently provides education packages through its Surf Survival, Surf Awareness, Surf Smart and Surf Safety programs. These programs are specially designed to give students an understanding of the surf environment and give them basic survival and rescue skills. SLSA also extends its school education to rural and remote communities through its Telstra Beach to Bush program.
SLSA also offers a wide range of education and training, from basic surf rescue to workplace training & assessment and post-graduate qualifications in Coastal Management linked with the University of Sydney. As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), SLSA offers nationally recognised training to its members, industry and the general public.
Community course and education programs are conducted throughout the country via surf clubs and state offices. Entry level courses for kids start with the SLSA nipper programs.
Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSS)
Royal Life Saving Society - Australia (RLSS) www.royallifesaving.com.au aims to prevent loss of life and injury in the community with an emphasis on the aquatic environment. Royal Life Saving is dedicated to turning everyday people into everyday community lifesavers.
They achieve this through:
• health promotion
• risk management
• sport and participation
• community development
In Victoria, the state branches of Surf Life Saving (SLSA) and Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) are one organisation known as Life Saving Victoria, whilst in other Australian states each organisation operates entirely separately.
Both provide supervision of community aquatic venues on a commercial basis and within a volunteer club network, competitions, education and training. The general determining factor is that RLSS look after “still water” and SLSA “white water” though this is by no means the rule in practicality.
Internationally, many countries have a standalone life saving organisation, or sometimes this is part of Red Cross, Red Crescent or other emergency services. Both Australian organisations have assisted many overseas countries with training and education.
Masters Swimming Australia
Masters Swimming Australia is the peak body and National Sports Organisation for adult swimmers aged 20 and above. The organisation is affiliated with FINA through Swimming Australia Ltd.
Masters Swimming Australia is a non-government, not for profit organisation, constituted in 1975. The organisation does not receive funding from any government source. Some Branches are eligible for and receive funding from State Governments.
The mission of Masters Swimming Australia is “to provide at club, State and National level an environment to encourage all adults, regardless of ability, to swim regularly and compete in order to promote fitness and improve their general well-being”.
The motto of the organisation is “fitness, friendship and fun”.
Masters swimming clubs and national organisations exist in many countries of the world.
The Australian Water Safety Council
The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) draws together most government and non-government agencies with an interest in reducing preventable drowning. A national strategic plan has been developed to assist in the delivery of services in a coordinated approach by AWSC stakeholders. The next plan will be released in 2016.
Member organisations representing swimming and water safety are:
· Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association (ASCTA)
· Royal Life Saving Australia (RLSSA)
· Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)
· Swimming Australia Ltd. (SAL)
Member organisations from other related areas include:
· Kidsafe Australia
· Farmsafe Australia
· Australia & New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG)
· Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)
· Surfing Australia
· Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI)
· Australian Leisure Facilities Association (ALFA)
· Australian National Sports Fishing Association (ANSFA)
· Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) Asia-Pacific
The Aquatic and Recreation Institute
The Aquatic and Recreation Institute www.aquaticinstitute.com.au is a not-for-profit professional association of Aquatic and Recreation practitioners, which includes recreation facility managers, industry specialists, community recreation providers and decision makers and recreation organisations.
They provide support, direction, training, information and networking opportunities for all members who are involved in sport and leisure services throughout Australia.
What is the Purpose of the ARI?
The ARI is committed to the following principals:
• to provide a professional body for the leisure industry workers which fosters personal and
professional growth and development through training programmes and networking
• to develop and strengthen networks between individuals, suppliers and professional associations
involved in the provision of leisure
• to represent the leisure industry by making submissions on issues of recreational policy that affect
the provision and development of leisure resources
• encourage efficient, effective and socially equitable management of leisure resources
• assist in establishing guidelines for leisure opportunities for local communities
• to provide support to leisure professionals in their delivery of quality leisure services
• representation on Industry Boards and Committees
The Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA)
The Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA) is an industry association made up of pool builders, retail, service and maintenance companies.
The association provides a range of benefits for its members including:
• a forum for communications
• government liaison e.g. Office of Fair Trading, Departments of Planning
• an Annual Pool of the Year program
• conducts Annual Pool & Spa Expos
• conducts Trade Expos with educational workshops allowing participants to build their CPD (Continuing
Professional Development) points
Above all, SPASA provides an industry network where members can benefit from each other and promote the industry to consumers, and government instrumentalities at all levels to ensure that the industry is given consideration as required.
Contacts for each S.P.A.S.A office in each State are as follows…
SA (08) 8364 4211
WA (08) 9479 6100
Internationally, comparable organizations exist in the UK (Swimming Pools and Allied Trades Association) and in the USA (National Spa and Pool Institute).
Employment in Peak Industry Bodies
Employment within peak aquatic industry organisations are primarily administration, management, marketing and training focused roles. Employment opportunities arise on a regular basis at the peak aquatic organisations.
Generally a very specific skill set is required for the job. Advertisements for such positions usually appear on the organisations website and appear in their members email newsletters.
If you are interested, you should subscribe to their e newsletters and check their websites regularly.
Merit based employment selection usually requires experience across broad facets of the organisation with many organisations promoting from within their own ranks.
Many current employees started out as volunteers moving to casual or part time employment and then into full time or contract employment.
Volunteering to assist the organisation on a regular basis will also allow them to assess your capabilities whilst providing you with a valuable insight into their corporate mentality and organisational strengths and methods of operation with the added advantage of knowing when employment opportunities become available.
Careers in Swimming
In order to immerse ourselves in this aquatic environment, many people have increasingly sought Teachers with the knowledge to teach basic aquatic skills.
The demand for swimming and water safety Teachers is year round, but the industry is affected by seasonal fluctuations and the vagrancies of weather.
With the increase in indoor heated pools, more professional management, better training and service delivery, more Teachers than ever before are achieving a satisfying career.
Many Teachers in recent times have specialised in tutoring niche groups such as:
• School aged swimmers
• Stroke improvers
• Adults or triathletes
• Special needs such as physically or mentally challenged
• Culturally and linguistically diverse populations
The industry is seasonal, though opportunities exist for full time, year round employment for good reliable Teachers and Coaches with a diverse range of skills.
Conversely, there are many opportunities for casual or part time employment. Many Australian trained Teachers also find they are highly valued overseas for summer camps in the UK, Europe and USA and swim schools and International schools around the world.
Teachers have also focused on delivering skills for specific environs such as:
• Open water
• Swimming pools
or diversified into teaching other aquatic activities such as:
• coaching junior to elite swimmers
• SCUBA instruction
• water polo
• synchronised swimming
• underwater hockey
• fin swimming
• spring board and high diving
• aqua aerobics
Training pathways for Swim Australia Teachers are:
- Coaching – Swim Australia ™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming, Swimming Australia Bronze Coaching License, Swimming Australia Silver Coaching License, Swimming Australia Gold Coaching License levels and extension qualifications in Adults, Open Water and Swimming with Disability
- Teaching –Babies and Toddlers, Adolescents and Adults, Learners with Disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Indigenous.
- Presenting, assessing, lecturing and mentoring other Teachers
- Program management
- Pool plant operation
- Venue management
A range or mix of qualifications and experience will further assist Teachers to gain employment.
Complimentary qualifications are:
- SAT Competitive Swimming, Bronze, Silver, or Gold accreditation
- Specialist extension Swimming Teacher courses
- Bronze Rescue awards specifically Bronze Medallion, or Pool Lifeguard and higher awards
- Pool Plant Operators Certificate
- Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (combined with 5 years industry experience)
The ability, opportunity, experience, training and likes or dislikes of the Teacher are all factors that affect the type of client group and career pathway chosen by each individual.
The main area of employment demand is for teaching swimming and water safety to 5 - 12 year olds (primary school age). Other opportunities are very much reliant in the first instance on the venue environment.
Employment demand in the aquatic industry is similar to a pyramid, with most demand at the base for swimming and water safety Teachers tapering off as client’s skill levels increase. There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 swimming and water safety Teachers working at any one time whilst there are about 7,000 coaches. Only about 120 of these coaches are training elite swimmers.
The need for swimming and water safety Teachers internationally seems to grow in direct correlation to the increase in affluence and leisure time of a particular country.
Australian trained Swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers are well respected worldwide for their enthusiasm, skill, knowledge and track record.
To find employment:
- Check the ASCTA Employment Pages; These include Job listings, and a page to post your CV
- Contact your local swim school
- Register with an employment agency.
- Check out job vacancies under casual, part time or full time, general employment and teaching vacancies in your local and regional newspapers. Pool leases often appear in the Tender section of the classifieds or as separate stand-alone advertisements
- Visit large nation-wide job websites such as www.seek.com or www.careerone.com.au
Effective Teachers continually strive to improve their knowledge and technical proficiency through ongoing Professional Development, realising that any knowledge and skills gained will “age” unless continually refreshed.
Professional Development for a Swim Australia Teachers is a learning that either improves their knowledge of aquatics or their ability to teach. Most aquatic organisations offer courses, workshops, conventions and regular newsletters, all providing pertinent and up to date information.
Here are some examples:
ASCTA Major National/International Convention, quarterly journal, website, e-news, e-flashes, pod casts, mentoring and scholarship programs, state branch conferences www.ascta.com
Swim Australia Touring workshops in metropolitan and regional Australia, e-newsletters, technical articles (Swim Tips) www.swimaustralia.org.au
asctaAccreditation Coaching and teaching courses, Pool Plant Operations, in-house Professional Development, specialist Teacher courses www.ascta.com
Other organisations may also provide Professional Development opportunities via their national or state branches.
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