The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has appointed water safety and lifeguarding expert, Jo Talbot, to the new role of National Vocational Qualification Manager for its training subsidiary IQL UK as it expands to meet growing industry demand. 

The new role of has been created to facilitate the growth of IQL UK, already the leading provider of professional lifeguard training in the UK, training around 95 per cent of all pool lifeguards in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). It also provides pool management and first aid qualifications.  Already a leader in water safety and drowning prevention qualifications, RLSS UK, the drowning prevention charity, aims to establish itself as a one-stop shop for all lifesaving education by becoming a key player in the first aid training arena.

Jo joins the RLSS UK following eight years at the social enterprise, Places for People Leisure, where she was responsible for water safety at more than 100 sites and managed over 100 NPLQ Trainer Assessors as group lifeguard manager.

In her new role, Jo will expand the RLSS UK’s range of vocational qualifications, developing aquatic qualifications in new markets as well as continuous improvement to its first aid qualifications. She will also enhance its offering to current customers, both trainer and candidates, through improved methods of delivery, focusing on quality assurance and providing effective and efficient resources to support all education.

“This is an exciting time for the RLSS UK and IQL UK. Our vocational qualifications business is growing and it’s crucial we have the right team in place as we expand our offering and enter new markets. With 18 years’ experience in water safety and lifeguarding, working both as a trainer and also as an operator, Jo has a broad and detailed knowledge of the needs of the sector, which is invaluable as we enter this new phase of growth,” says Martin Symcox, Director of IQL UK.

Starting in the leisure industry as a part-time lifeguard at the age of 16, Jo was working as a duty manager by the age of 18. She found her love for teaching as a RLSS NPLQ Trainer Assessor delivering training across four swimming pools in North Somerset. As group lifeguard manager for Places for People Leisure, Jo was responsible for advising managers and directors of the business on all matters of swimming pool health and safety to ensure their safe operation. During her time at Places for People Leisure, she ensured every leisure centre in the group had an AED to give any casualty the very best chance of survival.

“I’m hugely excited about my new role at the RLSS UK. It’s very important to me that our qualifications remain industry-leading with great resources that are designed to captivate candidates and support our great trainers. I hope I can make a real difference.”