Swimming Teaching Volunteer Project in South Africa, Port Elizabeth

  • South Africa

Ages18 - 80

Tour ID121285

Arrival LocationPort Elizabeth Airport (airport code PLZ)

People on trip18 to 30

Coach and teach swimming to children in South Africa, teaching them the swimming skills to stay safe in the swimming pool and at the beach. This swimming coaching project is a deeply rewarding sports experience for you and for the young swimmers you teach.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Swimming in South Africa
Swimming in South Africa tells a tale of two sides. The first sees the country as a powerful and successful nation, claiming victory and world records throughout Africa and on the international circuit. From Olympic gold medallists to world record breakers, the South African swim team is clearly a force to be reckoned with. The other side of the sport tells a different story. Over 70% of the nation has little or no swimming ability and over 1000 drownings occur each year. These shocking figures led Swimming South Africa (SSA), the national governing body for swimming, to launch the National Learn-to-Swim campaign back in 1999. The aim of the programme is to teach every South African to swim and is mainly geared towards the more disadvantaged communities. This is because about 84% of drownings involve people from historically poorer backgrounds.

This swimming coaching project gives you the chance to contribute to this scheme, helping to teach South African children how to swim. Although there are opportunities to coach provincial level swimmers, the main focus is on the government’s Learn-to-Swim campaign, teaching youngsters the techniques to stay safe in the pool and on the beach. You will also receive an official Lifeguard Award (accredited by Life Saving South Africa) as part of this swimming project.

Your Swimming Volunteer Placement
Swim coaches visiting South Africa can get involved at different levels of the sport. However, the main focus is working with children from the township communities. The government subsidises swimming lessons for township schools so the pupils can receive lessons at local pools. However, there is still a lack of swim instructors and general assistants to help supervise the sessions.

Whether you have recognised swim coach qualifications, or simply enjoy swimming and interacting with kids, there is a place for you. The age of the swimmers ranges from 5 to 12 and there is a variety of abilities. You will therefore have the option of helping children learn to swim from the first time they have set foot in a pool, as well as coaching experienced children who swim for their provincial side. You can therefore take on as much responsibility as you feel your expertise allows.

Swimming usually runs 4 days a week from 9:00 to 13:00 each day. You’ll work with a different group each hour and normally work with 5 to 8 kids in a session, along with support from our staff.

Your Swimming Coaching Role
You will work alongside qualified swimming instructors. This will enable you to develop your own confidence and build relationships with the children. From here, you will continue to assist the swimming instructors but also have the opportunity to take your own swimming coaching sessions. As you determine the abilities and potential of individual swimmers, you can introduce your own swimming coaching ideas and even offer some one-to-one coaching tuition. However, the qualified local staff will always be in attendance to oversee the coaching sessions. Whether you end up coaching provincial swimmers or taking newcomers to the beach for the first time, your contribution to South African swimming will live on long after you return home.

Please note that swimming coaching takes place in outdoor pools and is therefore affected by occasional bad weather, on average one day every 1-2 weeks. If a swimming coaching session is cancelled, we will try and find an indoor pool or you are welcome to join other sports coaching placements in the area or simply use the free time for personal relaxation.

CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
It is advised that participants complete a CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) check in order to take part in this project. We can provide this service for you at an additional cost because some people may already have one that is valid (please get in touch for more details).

Gap Year or Career Break Swimming in South Africa
A gap year or career break teaching swimming to township children in South Africa not only gives you a unique sports experience opportunity, it gives you the chance to help children stay safe in the swimming pool and on the beach. Working as a gap year or career break sports coach on our community swimming project really is a fantastic gap year and career break experience.

Programme Dates 2020
11th Jan – 5 to 11 weeks
15th Feb – 5 to 6 weeks
19th Sep – 5 to 7 weeks

Programme Dates 2021
09th Jan – 5 to 11 weeks
13th Feb – 5 to 6 weeks
18th Sep – 5 to 7 weeks

We only run swimming sessions during warmer months as we mainly use outside pools.

* indicates you can come on this date for a full 12 week trip (maximum duration).

Note 1: 5 weeks = 35 nights, 6 weeks = 42 nights, 7 weeks = 49 nights, 8 weeks = 56 nights, 9 weeks = 63 nights, 10 weeks = 70 nights, 11 weeks = 77 nights, 12 weeks = 84 nights

Note 2: dates are based on school holidays and are subject to change.

Note 3: All programmes run from Saturday to Saturday

British Nationals only require a visa to enter South Africa if they intend on staying over 90 days. We recommend you research this yourself depending on what Nationality you are.

Equipment Donation for South Africa
We are dedicated to sustainable development. This is why part of the fee you pay goes towards buying decent equipment for beneficiary organisations in South Africa. You will often use this equipment during your project and it is always left with the community when you leave. In some cases, an equipment donation may not be appropriate so a financial contribution is made instead.

Sports Camps
The majority of your volunteer project will coincide with the school term but during school holidays you will be able to coach at sports camps in or around the Port Elizabeth area. There is a big need for volunteer coaches at these camps and they are a fantastic way of coaching sports to children who do not usually have access to sports during term time. The camps expose sport to a large number of African children and are something the young athletes have come to depend on and really enjoy. The camps also allow you to see other parts of South Africa that you would not otherwise experience.

Other Volunteer Projects
In addition to your main sports coaching project, you can get involved with some non-sports volunteer projects if you wish. Projects range from care work with orphans to teaching in local schools. And with a western education, you will be able to make a significant contribution to the standard of teaching that the young students receive. Subject areas include English, maths, science, business, IT, and a whole variety of extra-curricular activities. Many volunteers find this element of their volunteer trip one of the most rewarding.

Social Life in South Africa
We believe it is important to give our volunteers the chance to unwind and have fun while they are away. Our in-country team therefore organises a variety of social activities to bring volunteers together, to share their experiences and, above all, have a good time. The social life in South Africa really is second to none and you will return home with some truly unforgettable memories and friends for life. With so many sporty people living together, social sports teams are pretty much unavoidable and there are plenty of local teams to play for. For the less competitive, why not head to the beach for some casual volleyball and football matches in the African sunshine? You’ll also get to experience plenty of Bomas during your stay (authentic South African barbeques under the stars). Sport, friendship and lots of laughs – what more could you want from a social life abroad?

Playing Sport in South Africa
If you fancy playing some sport while you are away, or simply enjoy the social side as a supporter, you should join our sports team, Stroh. A number of matches are played across a variety of sports including football, rugby, cricket and more. This will give you the chance to play against local teams in a fun and competitive environment. Although the matches are often taken quite seriously – it is sport after all! – the side places a strong emphasis on the social side of sport. This gives you a great experience of playing sport overseas while building cross-cultural friendships and enjoying Stroh’s fiery post-match celebrations! If you want to know what Stroh means, I guess you’ll have to book a volunteer project in South Africa!

Your accommodation is basic but comfortable and you will stay in a dormitory style room. The accommodation has a very sociable atmosphere and you will find it a great place to relax and unwind in the evenings. The accommodation is also centrally located to your volunteer project with shops and other useful amenities either a short walk or taxi ride away. With so many volunteers living together, you will soon find our communal house your new home, away from home.

Preferred Duration
We would like volunteers to come for as long as possible. This ensures better management of the project and also helps you get the most from the social activities and group travel opportunities on offer. Any duration in between 5 and 12 weeks can still be arranged.

Typical Hours
Monday-Friday; 4-6 hours a day; Occasional work at weekends but usually free for personal time and travel. Please be aware that some public holidays may cause disruption to times / days during your volunteer project.

No prior coaching experience or qualifications are required, but a basic understanding of the game and/or playing experience is necessary. You need to be of reasonable health and fitness.

Ideal For
Swimming Coaching Holidays and Placements in Africa; Sports Coaching and Activity Breaks in South Africa; Swimming Coaching Gap Years and Career Breaks in Africa; and Student Summer Holidays.

Volunteer lodge with shared rooms (4-10 people per room); Basic but comfortable; Shared toilet and shower facilities; Communal areas for socialising and relaxation inclucing pool, TV and games room and bar; Single and double rooms may also be available – contact us.

3 meals a day; Basic but nutritious.

Airport Pick-Up
Included on arrival and departure date. Ask us for details if you are arriving early.

Full project induction and local orientation given on arrival.

Pre-departure help and advice; Local in-country team; 24 hour emergency support.

Part of your fee maybe used to buy decent equipment for the project and community you work with. We also encourage you to bring any extra equipment that you are happy to give away but this will need to fall within your personal weight allowance with the airline you travel with.

You will be met on arrival. Full details will be provided once you have booked your trip with us.

How much spending money will I need?

It varies depending on the amount of excursions. For a 5 week stay participants usually bring from £400 - £1000 (€500 - €1,200) depending on how many excursions and how sociable they intend to be.

Are there ATM’s/cash points nearby?

The nearest ATM is just a 2 minute walk from the accommodation you will be based at.

How should I manage my money?

It is recommended that you bring a small amount of cash, and carry the majority of your spending money on a cash card. The Post Office provides a card that avoids any charges for withdrawing cash and also Revolut and Monzo accounts could be useful and are app controlled. We can also store money and other items in our safe in the office, also located at the accommodation.

Can I speak to the other people that will be coming?

We would prefer it if you could use our social media platforms to try and communicate with others that maybe coming away at the same time as you. We are a small team and are very busy preparing and organising the trips. Also, given that we ask you to all arrive on the same weekend, you'll quickly get to know each other as you settle in.

How much time is spent on the projects?

Participants work at 2 or 3 schools each day Monday to Friday. Each session lasts 90 minutes. This is weather permitting, but everything is done to ensure as much activity as possible takes place. Expect to be out working for approximately 6 hours per day.

Who will I be working with?

The majority of children coached are aged between 10-13 years old. However, in smaller schools, it is common for either slightly older or younger children to take part as well to boost the number of children participating. All schools worked in are in the disadvantaged township communities.

Will there be any training provided?

Placement activities not begin straight away. We provide a 2 day long induction where you learn about the program, as well as receive useful techniques. In addition to this, the induction is a great place to meet with and learn from your fellow travellers.

How much free time is there?

You are free to do what you wish in the evenings after the activities and at the weekends. Some participants like to play social football or other sports as we are very connected to local clubs in the area or go to the gym which is a 20 minute walk from the accommodation. Additionally a lot of your time will be taken up by excursions and other organised events as we feel it is important to show you some of the great spots around the area. We also recognise that you will need some down time, so you will still have plenty of time to relax, unwind and explore the local area.

What experience and/or qualifications are required?

We do not require any qualifications or previous experience. However, if you are on a sports projects it is recommended that you have had some playing experience at any level in the sport you wish to coach and do try and come away with a few training drills you can share. Although of course the more proficient you are in your respective sports, the more it will aid you when working with the children. The most important thing is enthusiasm to work with kids.

Swimming Teaching Volunteer Project in South Africa, Port Elizabeth

  • South Africa

Ages18 - 80

Tour ID121285

Arrival LocationPort Elizabeth Airport (airport code PLZ)

People on trip18 to 30

Suitable for ages 18 to 80

Most participants are between 18 and 25, so please be aware of this. We do welcome older people because of the value and experience they bring to the community. We have even had people in their late 70s join us so don't be put off!

"I've had the best three months of my life! I would definitely recommend it! Thank you."
Philippa Tollit

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