Pool role not all like ‘Baywatch’


A pool attendant’s life is a wee bit like Baywatch but more about being observant and people focused.

Clutha District Council aquatic services team leader Holly Ramsay said the role was a lot of fun and for those who liked water sports and enjoyed being able to help people.

“You have to like people and you need some basic aquatic skills, plus be able to swim, but we give full training to those who apply,” she said.

Ms Ramsay said the council was always seeking seasonal staff at the two pools it managed in Milton and Balclutha.

The Milton pool was seasonal and open for 24 weeks a year, while the Balclutha Centennial Swimming Pool was open all year.

The training provided was health and safety focused in instruction on how to recognise when people needed assistance, how to communicate information to a diverse community with many different languages and cultural perceptions, and how to be a people person.

“We like to get local pool attendants at 16 years of age and train them up,” Ms Ramsay said.

“They know all the locals and then we get a few years with them before they go off to uni.

“Some even come back in the holidays to work because they enjoy it and they are near their families.”

One of those who started young, went north to study and has returned to continue her work at the Balclutha Centennial Swimming Pool is Olivia Pirie (22).

“I have worked here on and off for two years then went to uni but came back because I love the work, the people and water sports,” she said.

There had been plenty of funny moments in the time she had been working at the pool.

“Lifeguards have slipped and fallen into the pool – much to the delight of the children, who give you a hard time about it – and code browns do happen but not often.

“We have very good response processes that means we float out in a small dinghy to quickly clean up the pool and let our customers return to their swimming.

“It’s all part of the job, which also involves reception work, customer servicing, supervising and water quality testing, so you are not just walking around like in Baywatch

“Sometimes it can get very busy and you have so much responsibility, so you have to be very aware of what’s happening around you, but it is a fun job.”