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Little Mermaid Movie Release Inspires Institute of Swimming, Swim England, Disney, and Ocean Bottle to Boost Aquatic Diversity Workforce

young girl swims with arm bands on

To mark the nationwide release of The Little Mermaid earlier this year, The Institute of Swimming is supporting Swim England’s collaboration with Disney and Ocean Bottle to launch a series of funded Swimming Teachers’ Recruitment Academies to diversify the aquatic workforce.

Both Disney and Ocean Bottle are part-funding the training of new swimming teachers over the next three years in a bid to bring in a more diverse talent pool that is representative of the communities that live in Britain.

Rebecca Cox, Managing Director, Institute of Swimming and Business Engagement Director, Swim England says: “We’re delighted that Disney and Ocean Bottle are helping to fund this new campaign, inspired by the remake of The Little Mermaid, where the lead character of Ariel is portrayed by Halle Bailey. 

“This special collaboration has been created in a bid to make swimming and water-based activity as accessible and inclusive for everyone. Training and recruiting swimming teachers who represent our communities in Britain is extremely important in breaking down stereotypes and encouraging more people from a diverse background to learn to swim.

“Swim England statistics show that, while 14 per cent of white communities cannot swim 25m, this increases to 49 per cent of ethnically diverse groups. A major target of Swim England’s new 10-year strategy, Access Aquatics, is to increase participation amongst ethnically diverse communities and this partnership will play a key role in helping to achieve that.”

The Institute of Swimming has already launched funded academies with Northamptonshire Sport and Southwark Council to train 16 new swimming teachers. 

Matthew Peleszok, Northamptonshire Sport, Strategic Lead – Inequalities says: “As a charity, our focus is on reducing inactivity levels, particularly for those who are least 

likely to be active and most likely to be affected by health inequalities.  Part of that is working with partners to support the growth of a workforce that represents the local community and an environment where ideas are diverse, perspectives are varied, and everyone feels valued. We are excited about the funded opportunity to train and recruit a diverse aquatic workforce, made possible by the funding from Disney and Ocean Bottle.”

Will Pearson, Co-Founder and CEO of Ocean Bottle, which creates recycled water bottles and helps fund the collection of waste plastic bottles, said: “This unique collaboration will reflect the fusion of two worlds united over the importance of representation.

“The ocean needs our help, uniting all perspectives and championing representation… establishing it as a diverse, equitable space that we can treasure for generations to come.”

The Institute of Swimming’s Recruitment Academies give people the chance to become a swimming teacher and take them through the Swim England Level One Swimming Assistant (Teaching) Course and Level Two Teaching Swimming Qualification.  In addition to the training, applicants receive a one-year membership to the Institute of Swimming and access to additional online courses – Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Further funded opportunities will be available in other parts England over the coming months/years as part of this collaboration.