I started as a Lifeguard, like many Lifeguards, covering school and college swimming pools. I started while still studying as a pool attendant during lunchtime and evening sessions at Langside College in 1997.

Going on to complete my studies, I was offered a part-time job with Glasgow City Council as a Leisure Attendant and quickly realised that at this time it was the job for me. With my passion for Lifesaving and Pool Lifeguarding, I soon went on to become a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) Trainer Assessor (TA) and Lifesaving TA, teaching children from aged seven in Rookie Lifeguard and Lifesaving right through to weekly staff training.

While still working for Glasgow City Council, I was also very lucky to expand on my Lifesaving experience with the Glasgow Humane Society Lifeboat, patrolling Greater Glasgow’s waterways, rescuing persons and searching for missing persons too. I worked with the Glasgow Humane Society Lifeboat for over ten years gaining lots of further experience working alongside Strathclyde Police, now Police Scotland and the other emergency services.

By this time, I had realised that I needed a long-term career and decided to join the Scottish Prison Service. I felt that my experience as a Lifeguard would hold me in good stead as a Prison Officer, working in a team, assisting the public and being observant are huge parts of being a Lifeguard. Sometimes even just talking to members of the public, resolving issues, and helping them where required, or even just being there to talk to someone.

Skills I also realised were transferable from being a Lifeguard were being able to successfully signpost people to other help, while also being able to deal with minor and serious incidents including violence, first aid, fires, and uncooperative people.

Lifeguarding gives you a very good basis for a career in any emergency service - Police, Fire, Ambulance, or the Prison Service. After over 23 years, I am still a qualified and very active Lifeguard and RLSS UK TA. Currently, I am teaching new recruits and staff in the Scottish Prison Service in various First Aid qualifications as well as teaching suicide prevention. I also volunteer as a TA with Open Water Rescue an RLSS UK Lifeguard Unit based in Glasgow, teaching various qualifications from Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) to the Save a Life Series in our communities.