Are you friendly? Available to work? A strong swimmer? If so, the City of New Westminster may have a job for you.
The city is piloting a new free training program for lifeguards and swim instructors. Applications for the new New Westminster Scholarship Training Employment Program – STEP – are now being accepted.
Mayor Patrick Johnstone noted that the program is part of the city’s efforts to hire folks to work in aquatics, as there’s a bit of pressure to hire aquatics workers in the region.
Corrinne Garrett, the city’s senior manager of recreation services and facilities, said the city is very excited to launch the STEP program.
“We realize that, since the pandemic, lifeguarding and skilled lifeguards are few and far between, and everybody is borrowing and stealing from other municipalities,” she said. “We know that we've got a lot of … young, middle-aged, retired people that want to come back and work in aquatics.”
Taking the courses required to become a lifeguard can often be financially challenging for some folks, but STEP is free.
“For the regular candidate, it costs about $2,000 to go through all the courses it takes you to become a lifeguard, which is very much a barrier for our young demographic, our retired demographic, our single-parent demographic,” Garrett said. “So this is a program where people who have a want, a need and desire to work get these train skills that they can apply on the job posting.”
Once hired, the city will pay for all of the training.
The deadline for the first intake of applicants in Wednesday, March 23.
“All we're requiring is that the people be available to work,” Garrett said. “Priority is given to New West residents. Priority is also given to those who need assistance, financial assistance, to take the courses, and show a need.”
The city will be screening applicants and hiring 12 candidates aged 16 and up.
“They’ll be trained and ready to go by June. And then we'll have a summer intake and a fall intake as well,” Garrett said. “We're piloting it this year, and we're very excited. So if you want to get lifeguard training for free, put your application in.”
According to the City of New Westminster’s website, successful STEP applicants will receive no-cost training and certification such as Standard First Aid, Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, National Lifesaving, and Breaking Waves Learn to Swim Instructor. In exchange for the free training, employees are required to work a minimum of one regularly scheduled weekly shift during four operational seasons within a two-year period.
More details (including applicant qualifications) and application forms are found online at
Applications close Wednesday, March 22. Read more about the application requirements, training process, and employee commitment at newwestcity.ca/STEP.