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First swimming NVQ graduates receive certifications

After 18 months of work with the Grenada National Training Agency (GNTA), 13 participants were awarded the first set of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) for Level II of the Instructing in Swimming certification last Saturday (June 17).  

Seven more participants have finished their course and will receive certification in the next few months. This achievement was made possible by the Get Grenada Swimming initiative, which aims to train 100 certified swim instructors by 2027. 

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, expressed her delight at the programme’s contribution to the growth of Grenada’s swim culture.

She said that swimming is a lifelong and lifesaving skill that every Caribbean national should have.

“We are thrilled to be able to assist in making this a reality. We are even happier that we were able to collaborate with the Get Grenada Swimming team to increase the number of certified instructors, which not only strengthens the island’s swim legacy but also provides a source of income for new swim coaches.”

Clarke further added, “This level of sustainability will have a lasting effect for future generations and by supporting this programme and the National Learn to Swim Week, we will undoubtedly help foster a great swim culture.”

Sandals Foundation was instrumental in launching the programme and sponsoring the first class in 2022. The charitable arm of Sandals Resorts International will also be sponsoring another swim instructor class later this year. 

The course is certified as a Level II Swimming Instructor and was taught by Nataly Regis, Senior Swimming Coach, Ministry of Sports and assisted by Damique Walters, National Swim Coach.  The 20 participants, from two classes, each attended more than 64 hours of training, coming every Saturday afternoon for three hours, for six months.  

Ms Regis, Programme Director noted in her remarks, “It was an incredible journey and their commitment to learning how to teach swimming to any individual on our Tri-Island state and abroad was commendable.”

The certifications were awarded Saturday at a ceremony at the Grenada Olympic Committee House in Morne Rouge. 

Representing the GNTA was Mrs. Kay Julien-Gutu, Marketing and Communications Officer, who made some remarks and assisted in the presentation of the NVQ certificates to candidates. 

She stressed the importance of the certificates in her remarks. “Having a recognized certificate for your skills has many benefits including tangible recognition of your skills excellence and a technical and vocational tool which can change and improve your lives by offering broader opportunities for employment and advanced training.”

Nixon Edwards, from Sauteurs Breakwater, was awarded “Best Student” in the class with excellent attendance, a 90% combined total score for all six categories and was elected to give the “Vote of Thanks” to finish up the evening.  

Deb Eastwood, Director of Grenada Youth Adventures of which “Get Grenada Swimming” is the primary focus, was excited about this momentous occasion. “This is a dream come true! It is instrumental for us to train highly qualified swim instructors. We now have 12 sites around Grenada, including Carriacou and Petite Martinique, which teach free swim lessons every Saturday.  There are approximately 80 instructors at all those sites combined.  We also have two National Learn to Swim Weeks each year and have 130 instructors at those times (April and July).”

Speaking of the NVQs, she continued, “Most importantly, if we expect for swimming to become part of our culture in Grenada, these qualifications are essential. The course requirements are not just about swimming.  The seven categories to obtain NVQ include: Communication in the workplace, Working with others, Applying standard first aid in aquatic water rescue, Maintaining body fitness, Applying pedagogical teaching methods, Applying swimming techniques, Operating in accord with accepted industry health and safety practices.  We are developing Site Supervisors, Coaches, and Aquatic Management to make swimming a foundational life-skill in Grenada.”

Two classes have gone through the Level II training and a third class is expected to start in September of this year.  Eastwood stated that another of her dreams is to have the upcoming class filled with Physical Education teachers throughout the island so that swimming could be implemented on the school curriculum. 

She also reminded guests that another Sandals Foundation National Learn to Swim Week will be held, July 10 – 14 and that individuals can sign up at www.getgrenadaswimming.com or call her for more information at 404-5237.

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