THROUGHOUT February Royal Life Saving WA is offering an extended Bronze Medallion course for Aboriginal participants from the KOYA Aboriginal Corporation.
The course at the Swan Park Leisure Centre aims to help these young people to develop their skills and open up new work opportunities.
The 15 participants will complete two training sessions each week in preparation for a two-day course later this month with Royal Life Saving trainer Kylie Angelheart, where they will have the opportunity to achieve their Bronze Star or Bronze Medallion qualification.
These qualifications are a stepping stone to completing lifeguard and swim instructor qualifications, opening up employment opportunities at local aquatic centres.
City of Swan has recorded the third highest near drowning incidents of any area in the metropolitan area.
Figures show 44 people were hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident in the City between the 2006 and 2016.
A Royal Life Saving WA spokeswoman said the association was determined to ensure swimming and water safety education was 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 Australian Aboriginals is three times higher than other Australian children aged 0–14 years and is ranked the second most common cause of injury death,” she said.
“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.”