The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) are calling on parents to ensure that their children have the chance to learn lifesaving skills as part of their National Lifesaving Academy.

The awards are a suite of progressive awards that teach personal survival, first aid, CPR, rescue, and fitness skills to anyone aged 12 years and over. Their aim is to teach candidates how to stay safe around water and how to safely assist others who may have gotten into difficulty in both aquatic and non-aquatic situations.

Statistics from RLSS UK show that around two-thirds of children who drown are cited as swimmers, the NLA can not only ensure that children feel confident with their swimming ability, but also ensure that in different environments, not just a warm swimming pool, they would have the skills and knowledge to be able to remain safe, and keep others safe.

Lifesavers can take awards in either beach, open water or pool, or all three if they wish, and progress through the award from the bronze certificate, to the bronze star, before obtaining their bronze medallion, a prestigious award for lifesavers.

There is then the opportunity to obtain a distinction award for those who are able to achieve any of the following: gain a lifesaving instructor award; undertake voluntary service to the lifesaving community; or undertake work experience in the leisure sector.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLLS UK said: “When designing the award we wanted to ensure it was completely accessible to young people from all backgrounds and households, and this is why we have ensured that the price of the award remains affordable. We also wanted the skills obtained in the award to be formally recognised to allow career progression within the leisure industry.”

Lee continued: “For many young people, lifesaving is the first step in a long career within the leisure industry. With this in mind, any bronze medallion achieved can be used a Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) hours towards the relevant vocational lifeguard qualification, something which can be a fantastic earning opportunity whilst studying, as well as a great addition to any CV.

“As well as this, our lifesavers will now learn the same theory and techniques you can find in our regulated qualifications, such as First Aid at Work and the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification, meaning that lifesavers will now cover the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for adults, children, and infants.

“With the rise of Community Access Public Defibrillators and the news that all state-funded schools will have a defibrillator by the end of the 22/23 academic year, it was the right time to teach our Lifesavers how to use this lifesaving equipment.”

The skills that can be learnt when taking the National Lifesaving Academy award are vital to ensure that future lifesavers have the necessary knowledge to help others to enjoy water safely.

The programme has been endorsed by gold medal Olympians and GB triathletes Jonny and Alistair Brownlee. Alistair said “I would recommend the National Lifesaving Academy, firstly, because I believe lifesaving skills are really important for anyone to learn, especially if you are going to be partaking in any open water activity, or going to the swimming pool.

“Secondly, being able to swim confidently in open water is a fantastic life skill and this course gives people the ability to do that safely. Thirdly, it’s also important for us all to learn that we can swim in our fantastic natural resources in this country if you take the right precautions, and all of those messages are given to you through the academy.”

Jonny added, “More people in this country are swimming outdoors, we need to educate people in how to do that safely. We all want to enjoy the open water, we all want to enjoy swimming and getting active but we have to do that in safe environment.

“You can also pick lots of skills from the academy, you can learn first aid, you can keep yourself fit to look after other people, you can learn about the dangers of different swimming environments, and that is really important and we need as many people as possible to learn all of that.”

The programme has also been endorsed by Paralympic Champion Ellie Robinson MBE, and Olympian and Sports Scientist Professor Greg Whyte OBE.

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