What We Do Our Qualifications Become a Lifeguard Be a Lifesaver - Bernie “I have been a relief lifeguard at the Wales National Pool, Swansea for just over three years. “At the ripe old age of 62, lifeguarding keeps me fit and engaging with people. Monthly training sessions are both informative and fun, they ensure that team and individual competency and fitness levels, are maintained to a high standard. “I have worked with or on the water since leaving school. In 1972 I joined the Royal Navy, leaving in 1996 for a second career in the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. My roles as Coastguard Officer have included Search Planner, Search & Rescue Mission Co-ordinator and Small Fishing Vessel Inspector. As a Pool Lifeguard, thankfully I no longer need to consider the wind and the tide when on shift! “I got involved in lifeguarding at the Wales National Pool, Swansea after I saw an advert at the pool and thought, ‘I could do that’. I did a week-long NPLQ course with Swansea Council’s water safety team and completed my training after being supervised in my role as a lifeguard in the pool. “Wales National Pool, Swansea is a place where some of our country’s elite swimmers train for national and international events like the World Championships, the Olympics and Paralympics. But we’re a community pool too so I could also be on shift lifeguarding for mother and baby swimming sessions. “The pool attracts customers from all age groups and backgrounds. I have found that my life experience has helped me build up a rapport with customers which projects a friendly and professional image for the pool. People sometimes think the job is about rescuing people when they are in trouble. But it’s rare that we as lifeguards have to do that because what we are really here for is to prevent issues in the first place. You are trained to risk assess. On shift, you are continually risk-assessing because you’re looking at early intervention rather than rescue. I’ve only needed to do one rescue here and that’s because our approach is about prevention. It’s a good, really professional approach. “We’ve got a number of older lifeguards here and we’re such a diverse bunch which all adds to the fun. We’ve got a former police officer and a former engineer. So, your background as a lifeguard doesn’t have to be in swimming. We’ve also got a group of younger lifeguards and It is rewarding when they seek career or life advice from me and it's really good to see them achieve their goals. The thing I always tell them is that this job helps them build-up a lot of great transferable skills like teamwork, customer services and leadership to name just three. “No shift in this job is the same as the last. I enjoy keeping fit by swimming after most shifts and by cycling my twelve-mile round commute. I would highly recommend doing the NPLQ course to anyone who enjoys swimming and is reasonably fit. The flexibility of the role is a big plus point and knowing that I can make a difference to someone’s life is very rewarding.” Click here to find out about our NPLQ Lifeguard Qualification.