Thousands of additional swimming lessons have been added across the state under a Victorian government-funded training program.
The scheme was set up in response to a drastic shortage of swim teachers in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns. during which many instructors were forced to seek alternative work.
446 people have gained qualifications via the Swims Victoria program in the past 12 months, with 369 now employed at swim schools.
Between them they will oversee almost 15,000 additional sessions this summer.
Kirsty Pilcer, manger of Point Cook’s Saltwater Swim School, said the scheme allowed her to fast-track staff recruitment and add more lessons.
“It was a game changer for us. We were struggling to get teachers, especially in the morning program, (where we) teach todlers all the way through to pre-school,” she told Geelong Broadcasters.
“The program allowed us to find people who were interested, but had no experience and never thought they’d be a swim teacher, to have a career change.”
59 Victorians lost their lives to drowning in 2022, 26% more than the year before.