National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Staff Development
Boroondara Sports Complex
Nominated By:
Contact Details
271C Belmore Road
North Balwyn

The Boroondara Sports Complex (BSC) is a council owned and YMCA run facility which, in the last eighteen months has gone through a $11.4 dollar redevelopment. With significant organic growth comes a great responsibility to be providing programs in the aquatic space which are engaging, impactful but most importantly, run in a safe and welcoming environment. BSC’s strong focus on our staff creates this safe environment:


BSC is a multi-purpose recreation facility offering a broad range of Health and Wellness and Aquatic programs to the Balwyn, and wider Boroondara community. With an average attendance of just over 2,300 visits per day the facility prides itself on being able to help patrons to live healthier and happier lives. With a staff team of just over 150, we are also extremely passionate about providing opportunities for our people to develop both professionally and personally.

Our engaging staff teams provide a safe and welcoming environment for the following communities within Boroondara and beyond:
• Our older adult demographic
• Aqua class participants
• Swimming squads
• Schools
• Swim clubs.

Future Plans

BSC looks forward to concluding the second round of our DM mentor program to hopefully see our mentees progress to become DMs. We also look forward to new mentees enter the program and seeing them learn, grow and develop.

With the success of these four key aquatic staff development programs, we look forward to expanding them across other centres with the hope to share with the wider YMCA. Other YMCA sites have already begun to adopt our LSV quarterly training, the internal mystery shopper program and LSV mystery shopper program.

We are proud of our engaged, highly skilled and high performing aquatic staff teams and are driven to expand these programs, learnings and culture, to positively impact staff and patron’s safety across the industry.

What it means

The Excellence in Staff Development award would be a huge honor for our facility.
An important part of developing staff both professionally and personally is recognising the great work and successes along the way. Developing a culture of continuous training, upskilling and staff development takes a lot of hard work, investment and team work. It would be invaluable to be able recognise these staff teams and leaders. BSC are proud of our ongoing commitment to safety.
BSC would be elated to come away with, and be able to share, this honor with our neighboring centres.

Criteria 1

Describe how the nominee has provided a contribution to Staff Development in their aquatic facility / organisation

The Duty Manager (DM) role, whilst a casual role, requires the skillset to carry the responsibility of being the operations manager of the centre at any given time. This skillset cannot be taught successfully across the standard 3 – 5 shadow shifts and so we have introduced a DM Mentor Program.

Recognising that the mandatory annual Lifeguard (LG) training is not sufficient to keep skills forefront within Lifeguards. BSC engaged Life Saving Victoria (LSV) to conduct quarterly in house training for lifeguard and DM staff.

In addition, lifeguards have also have the opportunity to attend DM Plant room training sessions run by the centre’s plant maintenance contractor, Roejen Services.

Criteria 2

Describe (and provide evidence) of improvements and/or achievements made in Staff Development over the past 12-18 months in Staff Development

Through the constant development of our LG and DM teams, BSC is constantly improving the safety of our aquatic areas. We don’t rely solely on one form of training rather we focus on constant and varied methods:
• Monthly LSV Mystery Shopper Program used as a training tool rather than performance management tool
• Monthly Internal Mystery Shopper program in partnership with neighbouring centres
• Internal Emergency Response Training (ERT): Scenario based training delivered by Duty
Managers to Lifeguards. This program also includes response timing.

The impact of these programs is evident through staff feedback with the following testimonials:
• “I’ve enjoyed interacting with the DM team more through the ERT program” Nicholas
• “I love the friendly vibe we have with our patrons” Emily

Criteria 3

Describe how the nominee has shown commitment to aquatic safety through Staff Development

DM Mentor Program: All three mentees from the first program have now progressed to become DMs. Surveys conducted at the beginning, mid-point and at the end of the program saw a 60% improvement across the broad skillset required in the role. There was a significant reduction in out of hours calls to management as DMs were more able to manage situations autonomously. All mentors expressed high satisfaction in being able to help their peers achieve career goals.

Mystery Shopper Program (Internal/External): We’ve seen a significant improvement in results from our initial assessments of 72% to our most recent result of 97%. This can be attributed to the targeted training and specific feedback these, and our internal, mystery shopper results have been able to provide.

Criteria 4

Describe what barriers have been encountered by the nominee in developing staff and how have they been overcome

DM Mentor Program: Aspiring DMs can apply to become a mentee where, if successful, they complete 2-4 voluntary shadow shifts per month over a six month period. The program includes 3 and 6 month appraisals with the aim to set them up for success in future DM recruitment processes. Current DMs also have the opportunity to mentor these mentees to develop their leadership skills

LSV Mystery Shopper Program: BSC engaged Life Saving Victoria (LSV) to conduct quarterly, in house training for lifeguard and DM staff. These trainings are guided by BSC to cover customer relations, emergency response, first aid and aquatic supervision. BSC’s invests approx. $10,000 per annum.

Emergency Response Training: DMs place a ball in the aquatic space, time how long it takes for the lifeguard to notice it and provides the lifeguard a scenario for them to articulate how they would respond. The lifeguard is covered for this process.