People looking for work in West Northumberland are being offered places on a cut-price training courses with guaranteed jobs at the end.
As outdoor pools reopen on April 12, managers at Haltwhistle Swimming & Leisure Centre are looking to hire at least 14 new lifeguards.
And successful recruits will be offered subsidised training with formal qualifications before they start the role.
The week-long course, which will lead to a recognised Royal Life Saving Society UK qualification, would usually cost around £350 to attend, but it’s being “heavily subsidised” in a bid to “open up the opportunity to as many local people as possible, regardless of their financial situations”.
Training will cover a wide range of different areas, including water rescue, first aid skills and delivering CPR, as well as health and safety regulations and site-specific information about the Haltwhistle pool.
The week will end with a formal assessment, with jobs at the pool being guaranteed for all those who pass.
Applicants must be at least 16 and will have to complete a swimming competency test before beginning the course.
Maxine Wilson, manager at Haltwhistle Swimming & Leisure Centre, said: “Many of our former lifeguards have either had to find alternative work over the last year or are students who are either elsewhere or unavailable, so we’re looking to put a new team in place as quickly as we can.
“We need up to five lifeguards on duty at our busiest times of the year and having a fully qualified team of at least 14 people means we’ll always have enough lifeguards available to fulfil our responsibilities.
“We’ll be able to guarantee regular work through to September for anyone that successfully completes the training course, and as well as giving them the accreditation they need right now, it will also equip them with transferable skills that they can use in both future roles and everyday life.
“This sort of detailed, intensive training naturally comes at a cost, but the generous support we’ve had from Newcastle Building Society will make it much more widely accessible across our community and will open up new local employment opportunities that might otherwise have been out of reach for many.”
Funding for the subsidised courses has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which offers grants to local charities and community groups.
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In the first part of 2021, the Society is directing its support to a range of employability and food poverty projects, helping communities recover from the impact of Covid-19.
Hannah Samuel, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Hexham branch, said: “Haltwhistle Swimming & Leisure Centre is a real community asset and will have been greatly