Members from the First Nations community members in Melbourne’s northwest are training as swimming teachers, and they’re paid while training, so they earn while they learn. It’s part of a Jobs Victoria initiative in partnership with SWIM Coaches and Teachers Australia.

The program is tailored and culturally inclusive for the mob. The program is being run out and designed by Jobs Victoria Aboriginal Advocate Lisa Forbes and SWIM Coaches and Teachers Australia.

Deadly Sports in Victoria has provided first aid training to the would-be swim teachers, and they’ve used storytelling to teach the vital lifesaving skills. Deadly Sports is Australia’s only First Nations owned and run first aid business of its kind.

Ms Forbes says the atmosphere at the swim teacher training sessions has been amazing. “It’s gold! It’s precious to see this athletic, talented and quick-thinking mob – who all know how to swim – train so they can become swim teachers and lifeguards and share these lifesaving skills.

“I think it will have a huge impact on filling swim teacher vacancies over the next three months.”

Victoria Clark from SWIM Coaches and Teachers Australia has been working with Lisa. She expects most of the trainees will get ongoing work as swimming teachers and they’re expected to interview for jobs on offer in their local area.

It could be the start of something bigger. “It could encourage more student enrolments and interest in swimming teaching among First Nations communities,” Ms Clark said.

Local Aboriginal Networks will be asked to promote the initiative around Victoria, while regionally based Jobs Victoria advocates will support recruitment.