Our catch up with Parkwood Apprentice Jack!
Can you tell us about how you first came to work for Parkwood?
I moved to Torbay from Aberdeen in 2012 and was working as a door supervisor. I'd previously worked in leisure and was actively looking for a career in leisure as I enjoyed it. I saw an advertisement on the Institution Of Swimming website for an Apprentice swim teacher and applied. I was then interviewed and was unfortunately unsuccessful. However, the candidate they had taken on at Torbay left and I was contacted to see if I was still interested. I was, and jumped at the chance of starting with Parkwood Leisure.
What attracted you to Parkwood Leisure in particular?
I have a strong swimming background and felt the partnership between Parkwood Leisure and the Institute Of Swimming seemed a great combination to help me achieve my goals.
What do you remember of your first days in the role?
I felt comfortable as an older apprentice at 23 years old, and was made to feel very welcome by all the staff.
The first few days didn't feel like work, there was a lot of learning involved and a lot to take in.
What skills did the apprentice programme teach you and how has the programme benefitted you throughout your career?
During my apprenticeship I qualified as a lifeguard with my:
- Level 1 + 2 teaching aquatics
- ASA diploma level in coaching learning to swim
- level 2 Employment awareness.
The apprenticeship was the starting blocks to my new role as Aquazone Manager. Without this apprenticeship and my mentor Richard Ward, I wouldn't be in the role i'm in today. Swimming is my passion and this is a dream role for me.
What career development opportunities have been available to you at Parkwood?
I started in July 2013 as an apprentice. After a year as an apprentice I secured a job as a recreation attendant/Lifeguard. I then gained my qualification Pool Plant Operator; and in December 2014 I was promoted to Trainee Duty Manager. During my time as TDM I resurrected the Camp Adventure programme at Torbay. Camp adventure now runs successfully every half term. My most recent success was being promoted as Aquazone Manager in March 2017.
Can you tell me a little about your current role and responsibilities?
My Role is Aquazone Manager. This involves the day to day management of the Aquazone swim scheme at Torbay Leisure Centre. I communicate with the parents who's children are on the scheme, and ensure their children progress smoothly through the scheme. I also coordinate with local schools to ensure every school has the opportunity to have their pupils taught at Torbay Leisure Centre.
I am looking to increase the swim scheme at Torbay by looking at the pool programme, and spaces I can utilise without causing disruption to the public swim times.
I also have admin duties with regards to Direct Debits for swimming lessons, coordinating the swim teachers and 1-2-1 lessons. I often cover Duty Manager shifts when required and teach swimming lessons.
I now have my own apprentice Beth, and i'm passing on my knowledge and I hope she enjoys the same successes as I have.
Would you recommend the Parkwood Apprenticeship programme to others?
Yes I would definitely recommend this apprenticeship. I've seen for myself an apprenticeship can give you great successes that can be achieved if you work hard and have the support of a great mentor and company behind you.