1 November 2022

Lee Heard, Charity Director, tells us how RLSS UK’s new lifesaving award aims to tackle the shortage of lifeguards in the UK and Ireland.  

“We are really excited to have now launched our brand-new National Lifesaving Academy (NLA), which is a first of its kind programme in the UK and Ireland.  

The NLA programme is designed to provide skills for life and includes beach, pool and open water elements. The progressive awards teach personal survival, first aid, CPR, rescue, and fitness skills to anyone aged 12 years and over. The aim is to teach candidates how to stay safe around water and how to safely assist others who may have got into difficulty in both aquatic and non-aquatic situations. 

When designing the award, we wanted to not only give young people the chance to learn fantastic lifesaving skills, but also tackle the shortage of lifeguards we are currently facing across the UK and Ireland.  

With that in mind, we decided to recognise prior learning for vocational courses which means that those who complete any bronze medallion of the NLA, can use this towards their hours when completing a lifeguard qualification such as a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), an Open Water Lifeguard Qualification (OWL), or National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ).  

This is a fantastic opportunity for young people as they will be able to remove seven hours from their relevant lifeguard qualification, meaning they will be able to complete the qualification quicker in order to begin working as a lifeguard.  

There are great benefits of becoming a lifeguard for young people; the skills learnt can be widely used and transferred, and can provide great work opportunities such as the possibility to work abroad, start a career within the leisure industry, and earn money whilst studying.  

By engaging with young people at an early age, we hope that we will be able to encourage them to continue their lifesaving journey and understand the benefits that lifesaving can bring to them. We look forward to lots of young people being part of our National Lifesaving Academy and many of them going on to becoming our next generation of lifeguards.” 

Find out more about the NLA 

Find out more about becoming a lifeguard