STA win Innovation of the Year Award for STAnd up for Swimming

Safety Training Awards, the awarding organisation of the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), is thrilled to have won the prestigious ‘Innovation of the Year’ award for its STAnd Up for Swimming campaign at this year’s Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) Awards, which took place on the 30th November in Leicester.

STAnd Up for Swimming was launched by STA in 2022 as a charity campaign in direct response to the swimming teacher shortage, which was impacting the opportunity for children to access swimming lessons, and learn a key life skill. The cost of training was seen as the biggest barrier, so using tens of thousands of its own charity funds to train more than 900 swimming teachers for free, with two-thirds of the learners being new to the leisure industry, it turned out to be STA’s biggest campaign to date.

Crucially for STA, the campaign needed to make an immediate impact. Therefore, STA offered learners the opportunity to gain an accredited Level 2 Award in Teaching Swimming qualification, making sure that those who qualified were able to hit the deck running and gain employment in either the public or private sector. This approach resulted in 86% of the STAnd Up for Swimming learners quickly finding employment.

On winning the 2023 FAB Award, STA’s CEO Dave Candler who came up with the initial idea, said it was his favourite thing to do, and is over the moon that STAnd Up for Swimming is officially an award-winning campaign.

He said: “STAnd Up for Swimming came just at the right time; a time when swim schools were struggling to find qualified swimming teachers to meet the post-pandemic demand for swimming lessons. It was a critical issue for our members and swim school partners – and for us equally, as an educational charity that is dedicated to the preservation of life through the teaching of swimming. Plus, it was also our 90th anniversary year and we wanted to mark this by doing something big, something that would have a huge impact on the swimming teaching industry.”

Dave added: “It was a huge team effort, everyone pulled together to make it work; and now to be recognised by FAB and win the 2023 Innovation of the Year award is the icing on the cake – this award is for everyone who was involved.”

Now in their 8th year, the FAB Awards recognise the contributions made by awarding organisations and their employees over the past year to education and skills. John McNamara, the Federation’s interim chief executive, said: “Congratulations to this year’s winners, who have demonstrated significant commitment to high quality qualifications and an unwavering commitment to learners and the wider sector.”

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