Fourteen delegates, from very different countries but with a common goal of saving lives, will spend the next two weeks on the RNLI’s Future Leaders in Lifesaving course, learning essential lifesaving skills and strategies for building and sustaining their own organisations, aiming to help tackle the global drowning epidemic.
The RNLI, a UK-based charity, which exists to save lives at sea, is expanding its international work to try and reduce this tragic loss of life. The charity is hosting the group at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, where the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards train.
The specialist course covers topics such as: causes of drowning, the role of a lifeguard, equipment needed to run a lifesaving service, managing incidents, practical lifesaving skills, conducting beach risk assessments, writing training programmes, and how to run safety education initiatives.
The course builds on the RNLI’s broader international development work, some of which has been delivered in-country – for example, RNLI lifeguard trainers have spent time in Bangladesh, Senegal and Cameroon, helping volunteer lifesavers in each country establish their own lifesaving services.
The Future Leaders in Lifesaving course ran for the first time last year and was a great success, with feedback from the candidates proving how valuable the learning experience was. Austin Andemani from Uganda, who attended the course last year, said:
‘The skills the RNLI are providing are so great for our kind of work. . . I will be able to push lifesaving activities further from where it has been in Uganda. The content, the people, everything has been fantastic. It is so important for us to remember that although water gives life, it can also take life away.’
Steve Wills, the RNLI’s International Development Manager, explains how programmes like Future Leaders in Lifesaving can make a big difference:
‘It’s shocking that 1.2 million people are losing their lives to drowning around the world each year and yet, despite the extent of the problem, it is barely recognised as an issue and very little has so far been done to tackle it.
‘The RNLI’s international development work aims to equip lifesavers in other countries with important skills to help them save people from drowning. We are delivering some training in-country, but courses like Future Leaders in Lifesaving are really valuable as they enable us to invite many delegates from various countries to the UK to make best use of the RNLI’s’ specialist training facilities. The course is tailored to help them apply their learning to their specific environments. The other key advantage of gathering a big group like this that they can share ideas and experiences, and learn from each other during the two weeks.
‘There’s a lot to cover in two weeks but, based on feedback from last year’s course, it’s immensely helpful and the delegates will go home feeling more confident and better equipped to develop and manage their own lifesaving services.’
During the two weeks, the delegates will also be given the chance to experience England in their free time, including evening activities near the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, and a day trip to see the sights of London as well as the RNLI’s lifeboat stations on the River Thames.
Notes to Editors
• A photo from last year’s course is attached. Please credit RNLI/Nathan Williams.
• Click here to view a film about the RNLI’s international development work.
• The RNLI’s international development work is self-funding. The work is funded primarily through overseas sales of consultancy, equipment and training to countries that require those services. In time, the RNLI will begin to fundraise for specific international projects.
• Members of the media are invited to attend during the course. Filming and photography opportunities will be available. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below if you wish to attend.
• RNLI spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact RNLI Public Relations to arrange interviews.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663181 or Laura_Fennimore@rnli.org.uk.