National Aquatic Workforce Framework
The National Aquatic Workforce Framework promoting aquatic careers, defining clear pathways for professional growth, establishing quality assurance systems for safety outcomes, and supporting the sector in effective workforce planning.


The National Aquatic Workforce Framework responds to the calls in the Australian Water Safety Strategy for greater advocacy on career pathways and enhancing professional development systems for the aquatic workforce, four national symposia where delegates called for greater resources and advocacy on workforce capabilities, development and pathways and three separate research reports conducted by Royal Life Saving Australia into the state of the national aquatic workforce.

It builds upon existing safety and operational guidelines and seeks to go ‘beyond the qualifications’ detailing the full depth and breadth of capabilities workers in the aquatic industry require in order for the industry and the communities it serves to thrive.

At the National Aquatic Workforce Symposium in March 2024, convened by Royal Life Saving Australia, over 50 delegates from diverse industry segments came together. This gathering was crucial in addressing workforce challenges and shaping a national strategy based on comprehensive research and previous symposium insights.

Framework wheel

The framework aims to:

  • Serve as a resource to improve attractiveness to the industry and retention of talent
  • Better articulate the many career opportunities available in the sector
  • Bring clarity to the competencies and capabilities required for key roles
  • Promote aquatic careers
  • Define clear pathways for professional growth
  • Encourage standardising systems for safety outcomes (such as licensing / accreditation)
  • Supporting the sector (as applicable) in effective workforce planning / training package design


The framework specifically targets roles integral to water safety and drowning prevention, such as pool lifeguards, swim teachers, customer service staff providing safety information, aquatic coaches, aqua exercise instructors, and their management lines. It deliberately excludes fitness professionals in gyms, sports professionals in stadiums, and other non-aquatic roles found in aquatic facilities and recreation centres.


The framework serves as a guide, advocating for best practices rather than prescribing specific approaches for individuals or organisations. It encourages the aquatic industry to apply or adapt its components to enhance workforce safety, capability, adaptability, and leadership. By documenting capabilities and advocating for clear career pathways, it seeks to broaden participation in the sector, supporting both organisational objectives and personal career aspirations.


Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the draft framework by completing the below feedback form.


Feedback will be open until Monday 24th June 2024, after which time the framework will be updated and published.

Report methodology and background presentation

On the 22nd May 2024, Royal Life Saving hosted a webinar discussing the background to the framework and why it is important.

The webinar recording will be available soon in the GSPO Subscriber area of the website here:

Webinar Recording