October 12, 2019
Professional Ocean Lifeguard (POL) Award Levels 1- 4
West Coast Water Safety is proud to be associated with the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA). Our owner is the National Vice President (WA).
APOLA is a non-profit professional association that is recognised as the peak professional association for Australian professional beach inspector ocean lifeguards. It promotes best practice in ocean water safety and beach management. APOLA coordinates professional ocean lifeguard activity in lifeguard training, community education, tourism support, public relations, regulation and risk management in consultation with all levels of government including Councils and their career professional ocean lifeguards.
The APOLA Board of Education, Training, Examination and Awards oversees a comprehensive training and education awards system for professional ocean lifeguards and community groups with highly qualified and experienced trainers and assessors delivering beach water safety education and training programs for pre school, school, adult, senior adult, workplace, aquatic sports coaches, specific needs, school teachers, surf school coaches and professional ocean lifeguards.
Additionally, APOLA, in partnership with registered training organisations, provide professional ocean lifeguards and other aquatic professionals with the ability to obtain Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) nationally accredited and approved courses and qualifications such as Certificate III in Public Safety (Aquatic Search & Rescue) and Certificate IV in Public Safety (Aquatic Search & Rescue Management) and units from the Health Training package including CPR, first aid and advanced resuscitation.
Training information including courses are organised in three general categories
In 1995 the APOLA Board of Education, Training, Examination and Awards identified POL Award Levels 1- 3 (and as well as Levels 4-5) with Level 1 being the entry level trainee comprising minimum medical and practical skills, Level 2 being the level expected of regular casual and seasonal employees comprising medical and practical skills with substantive work experience, and Level 3 comprising advanced medical and practical skills with additional substantive work experience expected of ocean lifeguards seeking permanent employment.
APOLA POL Levels 1-4 Revisions
With advent and subsequent ongoing revisions of numerous training packages in outdoor recreation, health, public safety and local government, the APOLA POL Level 1-4 awards were mapped against these training packages such that identification of specific units of competency for each of the POL Levels 1-4 matched appropriate content to incorporate advancing standards including common use of once relatively expensive equipment such as portable automatic external defibrillators (AED) and power-craft (RWCs or jet skis) with rescue sleds.
Incorporation of Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications
Although the long established APOLA POL Level 1-4 Awards remain as a stand alone and well-accepted ‘industry standard’ across local government as identified in government publications such as the Department of Local Government NSW Practice Note No. 15 Water Safety (a guide to assist Councils to carry out their water safety functions and responsibilities in public places including public swimming pools and beaches), APOLA POL Level 1-4 awards very much reflect content found within the most recent revisions of units of competency found in the public safety, health and local government training packages. Content (specific units of competency) from these Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications have been identified as specific ‘skill sets’ for APOLA POL Levels 1 – 4.
APOLA POL Levels 1-4
As the following indicates, specific combinations of units of competency (‘skill sets’) for APOLA POL Levels 1 and Level 2 can be issued as statements of attainment by the registered training organisation with POL Level 3 comprising the specified ‘skill sets’ providing for the registered training organisation to issue a Certificate III qualification (either Certificate III Public Safety (Aquatic Search and Rescue) or Certificate III in Local Government (comprising units recommended by industry).
Please note that during an interim period (until all Councils specify minimum requirements in terms of specific sets units of competency or industry/government set a yet to be decided date for compliance), POL Level 1 and POL Level 2 may not always comprise all of the units of competency (‘skill sets’) specified in that shown below.
Certificate III and IV qualifications as Pre-requisites for POL Levels 3-4
It should be understood that while the Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications have a strict correlation (are pre-requisites for obtaining POL Level 3 & POL Level 4), during an interim period (until all Councils specify minimum requirements in terms of specific sets units of competency or industry/government set a yet to be decided date for compliance), POL Level 1 and POL 2 may not always comprise all of the units of competency (‘skill sets’) specified in that shown below
APOLA POL Levels 1-2
However for POL Level 1 and POL 2, during an interim period (until all Councils specify minimum requirements in terms of specific sets units of competency or industry/government set a yet to be decided date for compliance), POL Level 1 and POL 2 may not always comprise all of the units of competency (‘skill sets’) specified in that shown below. Not withstanding the above the APOLA POL Level 1-4 awards can be described in terms of the following and the information below is also available in table form in the document: