ReTrain funding big boost for Parkwood Leisure




Parkwood Leisure, one of the country’s leading leisure centre operators, has retained and retrained most of its swimming teachers thanks to funding from ReTrain, a £1.5m training initiative designed to retool the sport and physical activity workforce, funded by The National Lottery through Sport England.

“We’ve hired about 140 people since April and kept 120 people we’ve hired,” Suzanna Gabb, Head of Aquatics at Parkwood Leisure said. “We immediately need another 150 and then next year we need another 200. The retention of swimming teachers is difficult because of Covid but we’ve always needed at least 50. There’s an increase in demand in swimming teachers.

“ReTrain gave us an opportunity to upskill members within our communities who themselves would’ve been under financial pressure to put themselves on the courses needed to retrain as a swimming teacher.

“Because of Covid-19, we can’t mix different types of swimming lessons. And we’ve had to restrict times for the public. This means we’ve got more time for swimming lessons but need the swimming teachers to do them. Unfortunately, two-year groups worth of children hadn’t received it. Older children who finished the programme didn’t get to the level they needed to be. We need far more swimming teachers for the industry than we’ve ever seen before.”

“ReTrain was a big help – it allowed us to plug that gap and retain staff – but as an industry there is much more to be done,” she concluded.

Further ReTrain funding will be awarded to employers and training providers soon, but people working in the sector can currently access ReTrain to Retain, our scheme to support 50,000 sport and physical activity professionals and volunteers who’ve had to find work outside the sector or had their hours reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re working in an area of economic deprivation or supporting under-represented groups, then ReTrain to Retain is ideal for you. The scheme is also ideal for self-employed people and small businesses.


 

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