Tom Bartley is incredibly proud to say he started his career as a lifeguard at the age of 16. At school, he was told by one of his teachers that he would always fail in life and this affected his confidence; so Tom left school without his GCSE results (and he still hasn’t collected them ten years later!). Tom then found himself in the position of not being sure what career path to take and ended you completing a lifeguard course. Shortly after completing the course, he started working at his local leisure centre. 

Whilst working as a lifeguard, Tom realised that he loved being part of the team and the leisure centre environment and wanted to pursue that. He worked hard and tried every role within the leisure centre to get experience. When he turned 18, he completed his Trainer Assessor (TA) qualification and, found he enjoyed teaching. 

Driven by the desire to prove his teacher wrong, he progressed to be a Swim Lesson Co-ordinator and then a Duty Manager. By 21, when many are still at university, he was a Facility Co-ordinator managing a large multi-use leisure centre. Now, Tom is the Operations & Training Manager at a 10,000 capacity entertainment arena where he looks after the operations of the venue and the training of the workforce, and he says: “I can honestly say that I love my job!”

His role involves delivering training in a variety of qualifications including First Aid, Safeguarding and First Aid for Mental Health. However, the one course, that is still his favourite is the Pool Lifeguard. He says: “I have used aspects of that qualification in every role I have worked in, and I feel it is the foundation of every position. I owe so much to the Royal Life Saving Society UK and their qualifications, as without them I don’t know where I would have ended up.

My advice for anyone who has recently collected their results is don’t worry. If your plan A did not work, the alphabet has 25 more letters and, you will find the correct path for you!"