In 2011, Highfield Awarding Body of Compliance (HABC) launched its first ever pool lifeguarding qualifications.
Although previously better known for qualifications in fields such as food safety, security, first aid and health and safety – and an enviable list of clients including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Heinz – it was the first time that HABC had launched a qualification for a sector within the SkillsActive footprint.
Brands now working with HABC include Lifespan UK, which provides training for Virgin Active – one of the UK’s largest employers of lifeguards in the leisure industry with over 100 sites across the country. Holgates, which runs a number of touring, camping and holiday home sites across the country, are also a client. Joanne Holgate, Director, puts it down the customer service that HABC is able to offer, saying:
“We’ve commenced using HABC’s pool lifeguard qualifications for both our own staff lifeguarding qualifications and for new candidate lifeguards. The customer support and assistance we receive from HABC is exceptional.”
For educators, one of the biggest factors to switching to HABC has been how easy HABC has made that process. Gordon Potts, Trainer at Sport Central Northumbria University, said:
“The University is delighted with the change from our previous provider. Our lifeguards undertook the few changes between our previous qualification and HABC’s qualification during norming in-house lifeguard training sessions.”
Adam Chaplin, a trainer at Aquafyn Training Ltd echoed that sentiment:
“HABC made a daunting task of converting awarding bodies the easiest decision we have ever made” he said. “Sometimes when looking at swapping awarding organisation, whilst there is a big cost saving you often receive less of a service. However, this wasn’t the case. Not only did we save money but the service we received far surpassed any we had received before.”
Local authority leisure trusts have been quick to see the benefits too, particularly in terms of ensuring that local rate payers receive value for money whilst improving training standards and maintaining public safety. Jon Whitely, Head of Community Engagement at Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, said:
“Since transferring to HABC we have realised a number of significant benefits from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective, namely reducing re-validation costs, increasing profitability, supporting workforce development strategies and much faster provision of course literature and certification.”
Shirley Brown, Training Manager at North Country Leisure in Northumberland, adds:
“Not only is the qualification the most cost-effective on the market, but the supporting training materials are of the high quality we’ve come to expect from Highfield. Certification time is also extremely quick and we feel we’re being listened to by our HABC account manager.”