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‘Culturally Competent’ aquatic centres look to reduce drownings among diverse communities
With Royal Life Saving Society - Australia research finding that 79% of 'multicultural people' who drowned in NSW between July 2013 and June 2018 were poor or non-swimmers, Royal Life Saving NSW’s new Cultural Competence Program for Aquatic Centres has been specifically developed to address the high number of drowning fatalities among diverse communities.
With Royal Life Saving’s research also finding that many refugees and migrants arriving in Australia had limited or no contact with a public swimming pool or had had no formal swimming or water safety education, the Cultural Competence Program, produced in partnership with the NSW Government, will involve
Advising how the Cultural Competence Program is a step towards improving multicultural populations' water safety skills, Royal Life Saving NSW’s Chief Executive, Michael Ilinsky, stated “for many recent migrants, the journey to a pool may be daunting or unknown.
“It is therefore really important that we make Aquatic Centres welcoming and positive places to visit for everyone.”
The Cultural Competence Program is designed to ensure that employees within aquatic centres have an understanding of the issues affecting people from other countries, and their needs. The aim is to increase cultural engagement and prepare the sector to build resilient and inclusive communities that have the relevant skills and knowledge to participate in aquatic recreation safely.
Illinsky notes “our Cultural Competence Program is free for partner organisations. We’d like to encourage aquatic facilities in New South Wales to sign up to become accredited ‘Culturally Qualified Centres’ once their employees have completed the training.”
With Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre was the first pool nationally to complete the training, Sydney Olympic Park Authority Chief Executive, Sam Romaniuk, said they jumped at the opportunity to conduct the training among all staff to ensure the Centre could provide a safe, inclusive environment for everyone to enjoy.
Romaniuk advised “the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre attracts over one million visitors each year to learn to swim, train, and spectate or to splash about and have fun.
“We are proud of the cultural diversity of our staff, members and visitors. All staff, be it our lifeguards, front desk workers or management team, have completed the Cultural Competence Program so we are best equipped to respect one another and provide a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
The development of Royal Life Saving NSW’s Cultural Competence Program was supported by SBS, Multicultural NSW and International Education Services.
Currently, 10 aquatic centres in NSW have been accredited as ‘Culturally Qualified Centres’:
• Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
• Oasis Aquatic Centre Wagga Wagga
• First Splashes Toronto
• Galston Aquatic Centre
• Hornsby Aquatic Centre
• Nereids Aquatic Coaching
• Granville Swim Centre
• Guildford Swimming Centre
• Merrylands Swimming Centre
• Wentworthville Swimming Centre
Click here for more information about the Royal Life Saving NSW Cultural Competence Program or contact Royal Life Saving on 02 9634 3700.
19th March 2020 - Drownings fall across Australian summer of extremes
5th December 2019 - AUSTSWIM receives funding boost to combat multicultural drownings
7th November 2019 - NSW lifeguards look to halt drownings of foreign swimmers this summer
31st December 2018 - Federal Minister says number of holiday drownings is unacceptably high
16th August 2018 - Royal Life Saving WA provides Swim and Survive program for CaLD children
16th July 2008 - Multiculturalism in the Aquatic Industry
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