2021 LIWA Conference

Published on Thursday, 26 August 2021 at 10:36:59 AM

Our aquatics team recently attended the Leisure Institute of Western Australia (LIWA) Aquatics conference, held at the Esplanade Hotel last week.

After a year off due to COVID, the two-day conference was back in full force, with over 255 people from the WA aquatics industry taking part in learning sessions, a trade exhibition and even a snake handling course!

Aquatics and Operations Coordinator Jeff Fondacaro held a learning session called ‘Outliers’ – the unexpected scenarios that pop up in a leisure centre that don’t always have a policy or procedure.

Jeff discussed how leisure centre staff build up their bank of knowledge and learn how to approach these issues and deal with them. While there are no concrete solutions for some of these scenarios, Jeff said it’s always important to:

  1. Be a good listener
  2. Be aware of your body language
  3. Be open and honest
  4. Get to the point and stick to the point
  5. Try to achieve an outcome – and if you can’t, be upfront about it

With over 45 years in the industry, Jeff says he has a “pretty good batting average” – but there are still situations that cannot be resolved. Jeff shared some of his personal experiences with the audience and how his ability to control these situations has improved with time.

A number of facilities also shared their experiences during the last two years, including the struggles they have faced during COVID and how they have kept staff engaged.

Centre Manager Dale Morrissy talked about a strategy he used to keep staff engaged and employed – particularly those who weren’t able to work from home during lockdowns, such as gym instructors, lifeguards and swim instructors.

This strategy involved training staff to undertake a major project that the City of Vincent would otherwise outsource. Over 12,000 records needed to be archived to meet legislation, so instead of doing this externally, it was suggested that the task of scanning, photocopying and digitizing these records be done by Beatty Park staff during the lockdowns.

Three photocopiers and two large plotters were set up at Beatty Park – and staff managed to get through a whopping 7000 records, some of which had up to 200 pages! 

During the indoor pool renovations at Beatty Park, the project also kept swim instructors employed while Swim School was suspended.

Dale was also presented with an award for his 30 years of service in the aquatics industry. Congratulations Dale!

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