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CALD Academy refugee swimming and employment program secures Zest award

CALD Academy refugee swimming and employment program secures Zest award
July 23, 2021

The recently held Zest Awards saw the CALD Academy: Refugee Learn to Swim and Employment Program secure the Exceptional Community Partnership Award. The CALD program is a collaboration between several community organisations, local businesses and training providers, including Accessible Diversity Services Initiative Limited (ADSi) and Belgravia Leisure.

The Zest Awards recognise the work of the community sector in Western Sydney and celebrate community initiatives in the region. The 2021 award winners were announced at Stadium Australia in June 2021.

The CALD Academy: Refugee Learn to Swim and Employment Program was launched in 2018 and is designed to connect refugee youth with aquatic recreation, vocational training, and employment. Participants undertake swimming lessons at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in Lidcombe. Some participants also undertake vocational training to become swim teachers or lifeguards.

More than 200 young people have attended swimming lessons as part of the program. More than 20 of these have completed AUSTSWIM or lifeguard training. Pleasingly, several have also gained employment because of AUSTSWIM and lifeguard training.

The teams at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre and ADSi intend to continue the program, and there are plans for it to be extended to other Belgravia Leisure facilities in Western Sydney.

Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre Manager Liz Stranix notes “partnering with a community organisation provides opportunity for services and resources to be more accessible and delivered more efficiently.”

She is pleased with the results of the program and adds “our program has benefited so many, including the young people who learn to swim and gain employment opportunities, whilst diversifying our centre’s workforce.”

Stranix encourages other recreation centres to consider implementing programs like the Refugee Learn to Swim and Employment Program if they have not already done so. If partnering with a community organisation, she recommends building a solid relationship, and advises “if you combine with passion and commitment from both sides, a successful program will be created.”

Belgravia Leisure and the Belgravia Foundation congratulate the CALD Academy team for their success, and for obtaining this recognition. This program shows the power of collaboration in local communities, and of the outcomes that can be achieved when organisations work together to provide opportunities for young people to gain new skills and employment.

Find out more about Belgravia Foundation here

Image: Zest Awards

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9th March 2021 - Cardinia Shire Council’s Aboriginal and CALD Sports Assistance Program now open

27th February 2020 - Royal Life Saving helps new migrants with learn to swim and water safety program

5th December 2019 - AUSTSWIM receives funding boost to combat multicultural drownings

14th July 2021 - Belgravia Leisure trials inclusive ‘All In’ swimming program at Knox Leisureworks 

8th July 2021 - Belgravia Leisure introduces inclusive ‘All In’ swimming program at Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre

18th December 2020 - Belgravia Leisure’s achievements in aquatic programs and facilities recognised at AUSTSWIM Awards

12th October 2020 - Belgravia Leisure secures Whittlesea City Council aquatic facilities management contract

20th December 2019 - Report reveals Belgravia Leisure’s excellence in water safety and social value

12th November 2019 - Swimming Australia and Belgravia Leisure partner to deliver activity and experience-based swim school teaching


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