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Alison Burlingham


Career Focus - The World of Teaching

Baby Swimming Instructor - Alison Burlingham

Alison works for the Baby Swimming Company - Water Babies and is a fully qualified Swimming Instructor.


The Interview

Name  Alison Burlingham

Location Bristol

Family Married with 2 children (3yr old and 18 month old)

Job title: Swimming Instructor and Reflexologist

How did you become a baby swimming instructor? What is your background?

When our first child was born we really wanted him to be able to swim and also learn to respect water as we spend a lot of our holidays by the sea. Therefore when I heard about Water Babies there was our answer. After finishing three courses with them and seeing the results in my own child I was inspired to talk to them about how to become a teacher. However my timing was out as I soon found out I was pregnant again!! So it wasn't until after child number two, and we were back at lessons with him, that I began knocking on their door about becoming a teacher. That was only 12 months ago.

Having had a successful career in Retail Management, Retail Recruitment Consultancy and then Advertising Account Management I took the decision to develop new skills by going to night school and becoming a qualified Reflexologist. However, since school I had always had a desire to teach but never found the right niche. Therefore once the opportunity came along with Water Babies I soon realised that teaching with them would fulfil it. I started the swimming teacher training whilst on maternity leave from my office job and 6 months ago I went self-employed with my Reflexology and Water Babies!!

What training course/s did you do?

I did my mainstream teacher qualifications with the Swimming Teachers Association (STA):- Beginners Teacher Certificate, Full Teachers Certificate, Aquatic Baby & Pre-School Teachers Certificate, National Rescue Standard Poolside Helper Certificate as well as an intensive 150 hour course with Water Babies to gain my Water Babies Instructor Accreditation.

How many hours a week was your training?

All the STA training was over 7 days or so and the Water Babies training took 10 days. All the training was intensive, away from home for periods of time but amazing!!

Roughly, how much did your training cost?

£350.00 for the STA courses and Water Babies paid for my in-house training. These costs are a ball park and do NOT include accommodation when training (most of the training is away from home)

How does the job fit round your family life?

Really well as I am able to teach and still run my business, as well as have three full days with my children. Water Babies courses run term time only, so once my eldest goes to school I will hopefully be able to take and collect him from school and spend the holidays with him.

How did you hear about Water Babies?

Word of mouth and a leaflet in a children's clothes shop.

What is the earning potential?

Instructors earn between £18 and £25 an hour depending on their level of experience, the hours and days they teach etc.

How many hours do you work a week?

I teach 6.5 hours over two days (which is pretty average for a Water Babies instructor). This means I teach just over 90 children every week!!

Is the job rewarding?

Absolutely. The smiles on the parents' faces when they see their children kicking for the first time underwater and the amazing smiles and giggles you get from the babies themselves would melt anyone's heart!

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?

Definitely. I feel comfortable and confident teaching in this environment as I can relate to both the parents and babies from having had my own child.

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?

You don't need to have taken your own children along to Water Babies but seeing the lessons and how the courses work will give you a better understanding of Water Babies and their culture. The best thing to do is contact your local Water Babies office and just ask!!!

It is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done and I am thankful that I took the leap to talk to Water Babies about becoming a teacher.


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