A partnership between Life Saving Victoria (LSV) and YMCA has seen eight young people originally from Afghanistan, now qualified and working as lifeguards and swimming teachers at YMCA managed centres in Melbourne’s south east.
LSV’s innovative ‘Aquatic Pathway’ initiative involves swimming lessons, and both classroom and beach education for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members. The program can lead to accredited training and further education through AFL SportsReady.
LSV principal David Holland said that while they are committed to educating and training young people from the CALD communities, the partnership with the YMCA provided a vital opportunity to provide jobs for those who want to work in the aquatic industry.
YMCA Victoria Executive Officer Anthony Neal said the program “has already been an outstanding success at several YMCA managed centres and we have aspirations to bring up to 6,000 young people from the local community through the program in the next three years”.
“The YMCA is the largest employer of young people in the aquatic environment in Victoria so employing those trained through this program is a realistic and achievable goal,” Mr Neal said.
YMCA Victoria Chair Anthea Hancocks toured the City of Greater Dandenong recreation facilities and was “immensely proud” of the impact the YMCA was able to make in the Dandenong community in the short time since taking over management of the three centres at the beginning of October this year.
“I feel very passionate about multiple cultures coming together and working together for a better future for Australia,” she said.
“I love the fact that this program was born from an idea and came about through inspiration and the need to do something positive for young people in the aquatic environment.”
“Every time I meet people involved with the Y I feel very special and very proud. Life Saving Victoria and the YMCA share a great deal in common with their approach to community and the aim that young people are provided with the ability to participate.”