Lonsdale Looks To Tackle Swimming Teacher Shortage
Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust is stepping up recruitment of swimming teachers to cater for the current and future demand for lessons.
The charitable Trust oversees Gayton Pool in Littleover on behalf of Derby City Council and Lonsdale Pool in Mickleover, which it is currently hoping to replace with a new £4 million facility as soon as another local 1.5 acre site can be found.
The Trust currently employs 49 full and part time staff – including 19 teachers - who are at full capacity, teaching more than 1,500 children and adults a week at a wide variety of sessions at the two pools.
The current teaching staff include mother and son Lynda and Robert Mangnall as well as mother and daughter team Lynn Palmer and Frankie Allmark.
Lynda is the manager of Lonsdale Pool and combines this role with regular teaching sessions. She was joined more recently by son Robert (29).
Lynda, who has been manager at Lonsdale Pool since 2007, said that there was widespread shortage of swimming teachers.
“Teaching swimming an ideal professional for people at all sorts of stages of their lives.
“Young people can combine teaching with their studies at school and university and it is also great for parents returning to the workplace as they can juggle job and home commitments.
“I think some people are put off by the cost of taking these qualifications but we were working hard to support people to take up the profession by sponsoring them now provided they commit to teaching here after qualifying.
“As long as people are at a reasonable level of swimming themselves and have a passion for teaching and working with people, then it is the ideal job.
She continued: “I first got involved with swimming when my children started swimming lessons and then joined Derby Phoenix swimming club.
“After initially helping out I was invited to take my teaching qualifications and it has snowballed since then.
“I get so much out of teaching – whether that is young children or adults who never learnt when they were younger.”
Her son Robert added: “We have always been a family who have loved swimming and I got the opportunity to help out when I was younger.
“I am now here full time and it is great to see someone progress. Sometimes it is gradual and other times, people literally take to it like a duck to water!”
Lonsdale Assistant Manager Lynn Palmer first got involved in swimming when her own three children started to excel at the sport.
“As a family we were at the poolside every night of the week supporting the children and I started off as a volunteer before taking the lifeguard and then teaching qualifications.
“I started part time – combining it with my job as a cook supervisor - but gave that up five years ago and now work here full time.
“The job satisfaction is huge. Every child has the right to learn to swim and the first time they achieve something new, it’s a great reward. We also have ladies and gentlemen of all ages who come here for lessons – proving you are never too old to learn a new skill.”
Lynn’s daughter Frankie Allmark (27) has been swimming since she was tiny and her own daughters are already strong swimmers at the age of six and two.
“I started swimming when I was about four as I was asthmatic and it really helped with my breathing.
“Then I helped out the coaches voluntarily when I was a member of Derby Phoenix swimming club and needed to do the service section of my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award.
“I havn’t looked back since and teaching has helped to support me finally through my A levels at Bilborough College and then PE degree at Wolverhampton University.
“These qualifications are therefore a great investment for a future career.”
Ian Cotter, chair of Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust added: “We have a waiting list for children’s swimming lessons but are currently constrained by both the facilities at Lonsdale and the shortage of swimming teachers.
“As soon as have secured a site in the west of Derby, we can forge ahead with our plans build a new 25m eight lane pool and hopefully a separate teaching pool to replace the ageing Lonsdale Pool in Mickleover.
“This will enable us to expand the number of swimming lessons available for the local community and we are working hard now to ensure that we have the teachers in place to cope with this extra demand in the future.”
Lonsdale Pool is also holding a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification course in July – which is the first step to continuing onto training to be a swimming teacher.
For more information about lessons, lifeguard and teaching opportunities through Lonsdale Sports and Swimming Trust, please visit www.lsst.org.uk