A boutique training provider has helped Ukrainian refugees secure new careers as lifeguards in the UK, thanks to the RLSS UK’s National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ).

Swim UK, part of Functional Skills UK, operates one of the largest programmes of: lifeguard, swimming teaching and leisure industry-related courses in Kent and Sussex.

Three Ukrainians are now working as lifeguards at Brighton Swimming Centre after completing the RLSS UK’s NPLQ - one of the most respected and recognised lifeguarding qualifications in the world. A fourth learner, aged 16, has gone on to full time education at Brighton College.

The lifeguards - aged 19, 34 and 47-years-old - had been enrolled on a Functional Skills UK course to improve their English reading, writing and communication skills when offered the opportunity to complete the NPLQ course with Swim UK.

The students studied alongside their British counterparts during the five-day course using Google Translate to interpret any specialist terminologies. During the exam, a reasonable adjustment was applied, meaning they had access to a bilingual dictionary which helped them translate the questions into Ukrainian.

“The NPLQ course gave the learners focus and has really helped them grow in confidence. They’ve gone from not knowing much English and being out of work to being employed as a lifeguard in the UK,” says Sacha Lansdall, Curriculum Advisor and Tutor at Functional Skills UK/Swim UK.

“They struggled with some of the terminologies because they don’t always directly translate to Ukrainian and were very grateful for the patience of the tutors and the additional support they received. They’re incredibly pleased to have passed the qualification and be employed as lifeguards.”

Learning alongside British students helped the Ukrainians, considerably; she says.

“The British candidates helped the Ukrainians to understand what to do on the course and improved their English language skills, which made it easier for the Ukrainian lifeguards to find employment afterwards.”

Following the success of the NPLQ training, Functional Skills UK is offering its current cohort of Ukrainian learners the opportunity to train as lifeguards.