Creating opportunities for Aboriginal youth

27 June 2018
Across February Royal Life Saving Society WA offered an extended Bronze Medallion course for Aboriginal participants from the KOYA Aboriginal Corporation. The course was held at the Swan Park Leisure Centre with the aim of assisting young people develop their skills and open up new work opportunities.

Aboriginal participants in Royal Life Saving Society WA's extended Bronze Medallion course

The 15 participants completed two training sessions each week. This prepared them for a two-day course at the end of the month, with Royal Life Saving Trainer Kylie Angelheart, in which they had the opportunity to achieve their Bronze Star or Bronze Medallion qualification.

These qualifications are a stepping stone towards enabling them to complete lifeguard or swim instructor qualifications, opening up employment opportunities at local aquatic centres.

Drowning data indicates that 44 people were hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident in the City of Swan between the 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2016, the third highest number recorded in any metropolitan local government area.

As a result, Royal Life Saving is determined to ensure swimming and water safety education is made available to disadvantaged communities in this area, with a focus on Aboriginal and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse families.

Research has also found that the drowning rate amongst Aboriginals is three times higher than other Australian children aged 0 – 14 years, and is ranked the second most common cause of injury death. By enabling this group of Aboriginal young people to learn skills to provide employment pathways in the aquatic industry, Royal Life Saving WA hopes they can become mentors to other young people in their community, ensuring that swimming and water safety skills become a priority for Aboriginal children.

This training is funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and is being provided as a partnership between KOYA Aboriginal Corporation, Swan Park Leisure Centre and Royal Life Saving Society WA.

Story and photo courtesy of Royal Life Saving Society WA.