National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Staff Development
Cockburn Aquatic Recreation Centre
Nominated By:
Contact Details
31 Veterans Parade
Cockburn Central

The Cockburn ARC aquatic team consists of up to 80 lifeguards and 7 pool operators. We have a wide variety of community users ranging from elite WAIS squads and the Fremantle Dockers to elderly people, people with disabilities and young families with newborn babies. We are one of the fastest growing areas in Western Australia and the Cockburn ARC caters to the diverse needs of all of our community members.


The Cockburn ARC employs more than 300 staff, and the centre caters for the recreation activities of thousands of residents from across Perth’s southern metropolitan corridor. Cockburn is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Western Australia. The centre opened in May 2017, and has quickly become one of the busiest and best utilised facilities in Australia.

Future Plans

The Aquatics team is looking at creating training videos and online learning platforms. This will help to maintain training records, ensure consistency of teaching and assist newer staff as a reference point they can view at any time convenient to them after their initial training.

A training plan for 2019/2020 is being created after significant survey collection from the team and will likely be suited to cater for the now diverse range of training and experience within our team.

What it means

To win this award would be incredibly validating for the whole team, who have put so much energy and time into their development. At the ARC we have taken a different and more progressive approach to training our aquatics team, acknowledging the significance of the individual's intrinsic motivators in order to establish productive working relationships that benefit our community. It is great that the centre can be fulfilling to work at, but achieving something as significant as an approximate 30% reduction in injuries even while attendances increased is something that all centres should arguably strive for.

Criteria 1

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

The Aquatics team has provided extensive training to its staff over the last year. This has been led by surveying the team, identifying where they lack confidence, then tailoring the approach to better meet the needs of the individual and the community. We have provided over 15 development opportunities to the team in the last 12months, focused on everything from first aids, team work, evacuation processes through to conflict resolution skills. We are highly adaptive in our approach to suit the needs of the team as they are, ensuring they are confident in their abilities to address any situation.

Criteria 2

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

In the last 12-18months the team have:
- Won a bravery award for their response to an aquatic emergency in Jan 2018
- Have significantly reduced our incidences of first aid during January 2019 compared to January 2018 through proactively workshopping risk areas after January 2018. Jan 2018 had approx. 168 first aids and Jan 2019 had approx. 99 incidents, even though our attendances increased by 8%
- The Operations Team have played a vital role in thorough and methodical inductions for new recruits
- Existing lifeguards have been instrumental in the training of their team mates by being participatory facilitators during training sessions
- Have mentored four casual lifeguards to become Pool Operators

Criteria 3

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

Through engaging and empowering the lifeguard team to take ownership of the deck area we have been able to reduce our rate of injury overall by a significant amount while increasing our patronage. Lifeguards make improvement suggestions like new signage, new rules, or training areas to make the deck area safer and the Operations team supports and facilitates these requests as a matter of priority. The team works together to first achieve a reduction in injuries, and secondly to support the crew to feel more confident when dealing with such incidences.

Criteria 4

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

Traditional methods of training where staff are spoken at and not listened to are not useful at our facility. They flat out DID NOT WORK to get through to the team at ARC. It is CRITICAL that lifeguards feel they can make meaningful and impactful change, and belong to something greater than themselves. When they engage they create this at the ARC. Due to seasonal demand it is challenging to maintain staff year round, needing up to 80 in summer and only 50-60 in off-season. Initially attrition rates stayed high. Through offering meaningful training and manifesting trust by following through on deliverables to the team, we have been able to significantly reduce attrition and maintain highly developed staff in the team for longer.