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Mid Ulster Council attempting to add lifeguards to swimming pools but recruitment ‘challenging’

Dungannon Leisure Centre

Mid Ulster District Council will soon be attempting to recruit additional casual lifeguards, Council’s strategic director of communities and place, Ryan Black, has confirmed.

Speaking at Council’s monthly meeting on Thursday, November 24, in response to a query from Councillor Clement Cuthbertson, Mr Black confirmed “some progress” has been made in the recruitment of lifeguards and told the chamber further progress will be made soon.

The matter was first raised at a meeting of the development committee by Councillor Niamh Doris who told the chamber of a number of complaints she had received from parents regarding the booking of swimming lessons at Dungannon Leisure Centre.

In response to these comments, the assistant director of health, leisure and wellbeing, Kieran Gordon said these frustrations are reflected across council’s three wet sites and assured the chamber officers are seeking to find a solution.

At the council’s meeting in November, Cllr Cuthbertson praised both Mr Black and Mr Gordon for their efforts to address questions raised by members of the public but told the chamber more needs to be done to deliver what residents expect.

“In relation to our swimming pools and lack of swimming coaches I know it is an issue right across Mid Ulster and I know Ryan and Kieran Gordon both have been very good at replying to the many queries we as councillors are getting but something really needs to happen here,” said Cllr Cuthbertson.

“With the Covid pandemic there was a couple of year groups missed out and while all labour markets are struggling at the minute to get staff, we need to push the boat out here to see what resources are needed to get on top of it as soon as possible.”

In response, Mr Black told the chamber recruitment is challenging at present but said he was confident progress was being made to address this issue and said elected officials will be updated on any progress made.

“There are challenges across the leisure industry and sectors in general in relation to recruitment,” he said.

“We have made some progress, we are trying to move forward with a casual list in relation to lifeguards and we are working with our HR team to do another recruitment exercise to try and deal with the issue.

“Hopefully, that recruitment exercise will be targeted so we will see a successful outcome from that.

“We will keep it under review and keep the members updated.”

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