Pupils dive in to new lifeguard qualification

A group of school pupils are making waves after signing up for a new lifeguard qualification through East Renfrewshire Council’s vocational programme.

Pupils from Williamwood High, Barrhead High and Mearns Castle High are taking on the qualification

The National Pool Lifeguard Qualification is the most widely recognised lifeguard qualification in the UK and is being offered to local school pupils for the first time, in partnership with East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure.

Six pupils from Williamwood High, Barrhead High and Mearns Castle High are taking on the qualification, which combines class-based learning on skills such as CPR and first aid with practical pool-based training.

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Sixth year pupil Lewis Brown (16) from Barrhead High, has already secured four Highers and is combining the lifeguard qualification with a further three Highers in his final year of school.

Lewis said: “I was really excited to take on this course as I thought it would give me good employability skills.

"It also gives me that balance of focusing on my traditional subjects with this course, which gives you a skill for life.

"It’s also a national qualification so if I go on to university then I will have the option to get a job as a lifeguard alongside my studies. It’s a fantastic opportunity and am enjoying every minute of it.”

The lifeguarding course is just one of more than 50 vocational options that S4, S5 and S6 pupils in East Renfrewshire have to choose from.

Each year almost 400 pupils take on these courses – in 2019/20, the percentage of East Renfrewshire school leavers who left with one or more vocational qualification was 15.8 per cent – almost double the national average of 8.4 per cent.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, convener for Education and Equalities, said: “Our vocational programme continues to contribute to the achievement and attainment of young people in the senior phase and supports them to develop skills for work.

"The broad range of vocational opportunities that are on offer provides valuable opportunities, targeted to meet the needs of as many pupils as possible.

"I am delighted to see the ongoing success of our vocational offer, and with the number of pupils successfully gaining these additional qualifications the highest in the country it shows that our approach to supporting all pupils is working.”