Swimming lessons for culturally and linguistically diverse residents this February

Suzanne AstonBusselton Dunsborough Times
Participants in the swimming lessons for culturally and linguistically diverse residents:
Camera IconParticipants in the swimming lessons for culturally and linguistically diverse residents: Credit: Geographe Leisure Centre

The City of Busselton has announced that the South Regional TAFE (SRTAFE) and the city’s Geographe Leisure Centre (GLC) will continue of offer swimming lessons for culturally and linguistically diverse residents this February.

The participants come from countries including Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sudan and South Korea.

The students have varying English language abilities.

For many, lesson one was the first time they had ever submerged their faces in the water.

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This program started in 2023, aided by funding from Adult Migrant English Program Innovative Projects and Royal Life Saving Australia.

The course enables participants to develop important water safety skills.

Last year 11 students from South Regional TAFE who were working towards a Certificate II and III in Spoken and Written English, took part in swim-and-survive lessons on Friday mornings at GLC Busselton.

After each lesson in the pool, a “dry” lesson would follow by reviewing progress, sharing successes and discussing strategies to overcome fears in and around the water.

Through incorporating curriculum content with experience in the water, participants developed important safety skills that they can now share within their families and communities.

GLC swimming instructor Jodi Kelso said experiencing water together in a safe and supportive environment in a community setting was the key to the program’s success.

“Delivering the program has been incredibly rewarding,” she said.

“Developing skills of blowing bubbles, back and front floats, kicking, glides, diving and performing reach rescues saw participants successfully receive their Certificate in Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive.

“It was also a wonderful opportunity for participants to strengthen their English language skills.”

South Regional TAFE English lecturer, Kathleen O’Shea said culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) residents were overrepresented in Australian drowning statistics.

“South Regional TAFE is pleased to have offered CALD students with the opportunity to increase water safety skills through this exciting initiative with the GLC, ” she said.

The students are excited to return to the water at the GLC this term.

Classes resume on Friday.

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