Swim program focuses on career pathways

Taylar AmoniniThe West Australian

The Swim for Life program has made its way back to Hedland Senior High School to help residents obtain their bronze medallions thanks to YMCA WA.

Born in Port Hedland in 2008, the program was developed to teach young people ages of 15-24 how to do their bronze medallion and gave locals ownership of the community asset that was the local pool.

The current program was based on the previous award-winning program and had now expanded to use the bronze medallion as an engagement tool rather than being the main focus of the program, said Swim for Life manager Neil Gallacher.

“Another thing the department has done is focus on trying to stop long-term benefit dependency, so they’re trying to invest in young people gaining skills and getting qualified now,” he said.

“Previously, the bronze medallion was the outcome, the objective, with maybe a chance of getting a job as a pool lifeguard, but now we’re using the bronze medallion as an engagement tool to map out ideal career pathways.”

The program is supported by the Department of Employment as a way to invest in young people’s long-term career paths early in life.

“Obviously, rolling out such a large and complex program takes time, planning and effort, so I’m chuffed to see it under way,” Mr Gallacher said

Since its relaunch, the program has engaged 80 young Aboriginal people throughout the State, with 11 from Port Hedland and six from Kalgoorlie-Boulder already starting their bronze medallion.

The program is free for all participants, with all equipment including goggles, swimming caps and flippers provided by the program.

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