NPLQ Courses

To become a Lifeguard, you need to undertake the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), which is recognised by swimming pool operators for pool lifeguards in the UK.

The NPLQ is awarded by the Institute of Qualified Lifeguards (IQL), the professional awarding body managed by the Royal Lifesaving Society UK (RLSS).

The qualification teaches the skills required to be a professionally qualified lifeguard and is valid for two years.

If you are interested in becoming a qualified lifeguard, you need to ensure you meet the following criteria as laid out by the IQL.

Every candidate, prior to commencement of training for the NPLQ must:

Be 16 years of age;
Be able to meet the following basic fitness criteria:

  • jump / dive into deep water
  • swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds
  • swim 100 metres continuously on front and back in deep water.
  • tread water for 30 seconds
  • surface dive to the floor of the pool
  • climb out unaided without ladder / steps and where the pool design permits

To become a lifeguard you need to have a good level of swimming ability: the course is both physically and mentally demanding.

The course follows a syllabus and document entitled “The Lifeguard” and aims to fulfil the requirement of the Health and Safety Commission “Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools”.

Training and assessment for the qualification is in two sections:

The NPLQ covers all elements of Pool Rescue Techniques, Lifeguarding Theory, First Aid and CPR. The course will include swimming to set times, lifting casualties and diving to the deepest part of the pool. Training and assessment for the NPLQ is in three sections and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.

Section 1 – The Lifeguard and the Law, Swimming Pool Supervision
Element 1 – The Lifeguard and the Law
Element 2 – Swimming Pool, Hazards and Control Measures
Element 3 – Swimming Pool Supervision

Section 2 – Intervention and Rescue and Emergency Action Plans
Element 1 – Intervention and Rescue
Element 2 – Rescue of a Casualty with a Suspected Spinal Injury
Element 3 – Emergency Action Plan

Section 3 – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, AED and First Aid
Element 1 – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Element 2 – First Aid
Element 3 – Automated External Defibrillation (AED)

Assessment for the NPLQ takes place at the end of the course. It determines your knowledge and understanding of the principles of working as a pool lifeguard and assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a work-related environment.

The assessment is split into three sections:

Practical pool assessment; theory assessment (verbal question and answer session with the assessor); and Practical First Aid & CPR assessment.

Upon qualifying with the NPLQ, the certificate is valid for two years from the date of successful completion.

Where particular performance criteria are shown in shaded boxes on the assessment matrix, candidates MUST meet the specific criteria set out in ‘The Lifeguard’ for the particular skill or area of knowledge. Candidates who do not meet the specific performance criteria as set out in ‘The Lifeguard’ MUST fail the whole of that section of the assessment.

If the candidate fails they must be reassessed on the whole of the relevant section or sections they were unsuccessful in.

The course is usually run over a 6-day period, with total contact training time of 39 hours. The course will be carried out at our RLSS Approved Training Centre by a qualified NPLQ Trainer.

For further details of the next course contact Sports Centre Reception and ask for Mike: 01747 813135

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