The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), today (Tuesday, 4 July), launches the new generation of its National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), the most awarded lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland – with 95% of all UK pool lifeguards (over 74,000) proudly holding the NPLQ and more than 35,000 pool lifeguards qualifying with the RLSS UK every year! 

Almost a year in the making, NPLQ Gen 10 is the latest RLSS UK NPLQ edition. It is endorsed against the CIMSPA Lifeguard Standard, sits firmly within the apprenticeship framework, and is still open to anyone aged 16 and over who can meet the course prerequisites. It’s designed for all pool lifeguards and helps leisure operators stay at the cutting edge of lifesaving, lifeguarding, water safety and life support skills. 

Lifeguards carry out such an important, responsible job, using their skills every day. RLSS UK respect and recognise the lifeguard's role in helping people enjoy water safely and have raised the NPLQ to a Level 3 qualification registered with UCAS and worth 8 UCAS Tariff points (effective May 2024). 

RLSS UK is committed to working with research experts and academics to ensure the NPLQ continues to be fit for purpose for the industry and lifeguards are trained with the right skills and knowledge to carry out their role and keep swimming pool users safe. Working with The University of Chichester over the past five years, RLSS UK has conducted research to shape and develop the content of the NPLQ, focusing on the effectiveness of methods for scanning and supervision and including the impact of training and intervention. 

Jo Talbot, Commercial Director at RLSS UK, commented: “We are very proud to be the industry leader in lifeguarding and lifesaving, and we take being at the forefront of lifeguard qualification innovation and development incredibly seriously. Amendments to the qualification result from feedback from candidates, operators and RLSS UK Trainer Assessors, relevant research undertaken with educational establishments, and the latest industry information. We’ve also carried out vigorous testing. We are 100% confident that NPLQ Gen 10 will not disappoint, it’s the best NPLQ yet, and we cannot wait for our candidates and pool operators to experience the improvements and enhancements we’ve worked tirelessly on over the last 12 months.” 

Robert Gofton, CEO of RLSS UK, added: “Ensuring our qualifications are fit for purpose is extremely important to RLSS UK. We are also committed to learning from incidents and qualification holders’ experiences to help shape our qualifications and ensure they stay current, professional, and realistic - providing Leisure operators with world-class lifeguards. 

“Lifeguards carry out such an important role with copious amounts of responsibility. First Aid qualifications are Level 3, and we felt lifeguards should get the same recognition for their valuable job. I am delighted NPLQ Gen 10 is a Level 3 qualification.” 

Here’s an overview of the developments in NPLQ Gen 10: 

  • New section for Customer Communication, including videos to help lifeguards understand how to communicate with pool users. 
  • New scanning videos and more information to help lifeguards practice identifying hazards. 
  • A new section detailing the importance of mental and physical health and well-being, including helpful links for more information. 
  • Revised and reduced law section, providing lifeguards with basic and ‘need-to-know’ information. 
  • Revised risk assessment section, introducing the concept of dynamic risk assessment, with a helpful video to guide lifeguards on identifying hazards throughout a leisure centre and putting control measures in place. 
  • New data on real pool rescues and lifeguard intervention research. 
  • Updated guidance for supervising pools, lifeguard rotation and duration.
  • Revised Pool Safety Operating Procedures (PSOP) information with clear information that a lifeguard should know. 
  • New incident training information highlighting the importance of practice for real life. 
  • Updated specialist activities and swimming pool technology section.
  • Updated First Aid survey with new industry data. 
  • New toolbox ideas for Trainers to make the course interactive and fun. 

RLSS UK has been preparing the industry and candidates for the changes that NPLQ Gen 10 brings, but as a reminder, from today, sales of NPLQ Gen 10 candidate manuals and assessment credits are open - available from RLSS UK Accounts (powered by tahdah) and RLSS UK Shop (www.rlss.org.uk); along with new resources, and FAQs, and for RLSS UK NPLQ Trainer Assessors (TAs). 

RLSS UK NPLQ Trainer Assessors can get access to all information and update their Trainer Assessor qualification from today, Tuesday, 4 July 2023. 

For more information on any aspect of NPLQ Gen 10, email [email protected] or call 0300 323 0096. 

Click here for more information about the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)

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