Supervision and Mentoring of Pool Operations Students
- Written by Tony Head
- Category: Training & Development
- Created: 31 January 2017
Competency based training has been firmly entrenched in the Western Australian Aquatic Industry since 2001. As an industry we were the first state in Australia to embrace this form of training and through professional development and forums it was well understood and supported. It also lead to an improvement in facilities in the way in which documents and procedures were developed and stored. More than one pool manager indicated that the on-the-job requirement of the Pool Operations Training Course had seen them get started on an operations manual.
Fast forward to 2017 and whilst the names and codes of the units of competence have changed over the years the process of assessment and workplace supervision still has many similarities to the original 2001 documentation. Whilst there have been some wonderful and well presented assessments received, in recent times Royal Life Saving Assessors have noticed that there are some facilities and some supervisors who have become for want of a better word, lack in their responsibilities when supervising a student completing the on-the-job assessment.
This form of training and assessment is not a quick fix for the individual or the facility, but one that needs to assure the industry and the members of the public, that the accredited LIWA Aquatics member on the pool deck has the technical skills required to operate the plant and equipment and the ability to respond appropriately in an emergency situation.
More and more industry assessors are coming across photocopies of operating documents that are being submitted as evidence for a candidate's ability to undertake a range of tasks during the assessment process. There are no assessable task that is inclusive of the student's ability to use a photocopier in this assessment process.
Training and development is no doubt a cost to every organisation, but it also has a substantial payback to the operation when staffs trained at the facility are able to step up and take the lead in an operational role when required.
The industry needs to be confident that all new pool operators are trained to a standard that promotes the facility where they were trained as much as it does the individual. This will not happen when students are able to access documents and claim them as their work and then insert them in their evidence portfolio for assessment.
Ask yourself this question, did you personally see the student perform maintenance duties of backwashing, Injection point cleaning or chemical preparation or changeovers. Did you organise and simulate an emergency scenario with them and go through the debriefing session to give them the chance to facilitate the emergency simulation and learn from this, if the answer is no then ask yourself - why not?
If we want competent new Pool Operators on the deck we need to invest time and energy to ensure that they get the best training and induction possible. If you feel that over the years you have let your own standards slip or maybe make the process too easy for a student please consider these actions as they could have serious consequences in the workplace.
If you yourself are new to the industry or feel that you could use with some guidance in this area then LIWA Aquatics or Royal Life Saving Society may be able to provide you with some ideas and mentoring in this role so we can ensure the next generation of Pool Operators are getting the best training and induction possible when entering into the management of aquatic facilities.