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West Vancouver creates free lifeguard training program to address acute shortage


Army.ca Dinosaur
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What an awesome idea... seriously:

Trainees save $1K in course fees and will have the inside track to a job that pays almost $28 per hour​

With dozens of vacant lifeguard jobs and big summer crowds about to descend on Ambleside and Dundarave beaches, the District of West Vancouver is tackling its shortage of qualified people by offering free lifeguard training worth close to $1,000.

The program will also give graduates excellent prospects of landing a job that pays almost $28 per hour.

According to the senior manager of community services, the new Lifeguard Recruitment Program is unique in British Columbia, born of urgent necessity and the realization that earning the credentials to work as a lifeguard and swimming instructor can be cost-prohibitive.

"Right now, our current staffing is 32 lifeguards where normally we would be close to 100 lifeguards at this time of the year because we have to open two beaches, as well as staff our pool and swimming lessons," said Jill Lawlor. "The idea is to break down barriers ... to get [lifeguards] trained quickly and on our beaches and pool deck."

West Vancouver isn't alone in its acute lifeguard shortage. Shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic drained pools of qualified staff. Training and certification programs were also put on hold, effectively turning off the pipeline feeding new people into the sector.

According to Lawlor, West Vancouver's lifeguard recruitment program will see as many as 16 candidates put through two courses simultaneously to earn their National Lifeguard and Red Cross Water Safety Instructor certification. Both courses are typically offered separately for about $450 each.