An essential job sector is facing a shortage of workers in Manitoba, according to a representative of its governing organization.
“There’s a combination of factors driving the shortage,” Love told Global News. “Part of it was we had widespread shutdowns through the pandemic, and that restricted the amount of training people could take.
“With those shutdowns, a lot of people left the industry. They went and found other jobs, because the places they worked normally were closed.”
Love said the traditional recruitment demographic for the industry — young people between 16 and 23 years old — is finding itself pulled in many directions these days, and youth may not be willing to go through the amount of training needed to become a qualified lifeguard.
N.B. woman says she was ‘minutes from death’ after 14-hour ER wait
Passenger killed after large ‘rogue’ wave hits Antarctic cruise ship
“It’s not something you can just walk into,” he said.
“It’s not necessarily as attractive to people if they have to get training upfront before walking out on the pool deck.”
The effect of fewer lifeguards, he said, means some facilities — both at local waterfronts or swimming pools — will have to cut back on services, which could result in more danger for swimmers, whose numbers haven’t dwindled.
“People are going elsewhere — to less-safe places to swim. That could relate to more injuries, more deaths … which is something we want to avoid.”
Love said being a lifeguard is a great career path for young people — counting lawyers, politicians, doctors, and even an astronaut among those who have previously held the job.
“Employers in future careers will look favourably on people who have gone through the process,” he said.