Positive pathway for new arrivals

A partnership between Life Saving Victoria (LSV), City of Greater Dandenong and YMCA Victoria has helped a group of Afghan refugees gain meaningful employment.

LSV YMCA partnership

Pictured: David Holland (LSV), Anthea Hancocks (YMCA Victoria Chair), Anthony Neal (YMCA Victoria Executive Office Southern Hume & Gippsland) and Alexandra Ash (YMCA Area Manager for Dandenong) 


Almost half of Victoria’s population comprise people who were either born overseas, or who have a parent who was, many with little or no experience around water. Therefore providing water safety for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities is vital.

Here at the YMCA we have been working with community members requiring increased support in water safety, including a women’s only swimming program.

City of Greater Dandenong’s 144,000 strong population is incredibly diverse with representation from more than 150 nations. The council shares the YMCA’s aim to ensure the community can live healthier, active lives.

Working together

Working with graduates of LSV’s multicultural pathways program, YMCA Victoria offered further training for the graduates to work as lifeguards and swimming teachers at YMCA centres.

The graduates gained experience in various aquatic environments and received swimming and water safety qualifications needed to gain employment.

LSV YMCA lifeguards

After completing their pool lifeguard training, eight graduates from African, Afghan and Burmese background were the first to take up employment opportunities with the YMCA.

YMCA Executive Officer for the region, Anthony Neal, said the opportunity to enhance the already strong bond between the YMCA and LSV through the delivery of this program added significant benefit to the diverse Dandenong community.

“Enabling these young people to undertake pool lifeguard and learn-to-swim teacher training is important not only for their own employment prospects, but for sharing vital water safety messages with CALD communities,” Mr Neal said.

“The eight members from Afghanistan are all now qualified and working as lifeguards and swimming teachers at YMCA centres including Casey ARC, Casey RACE and Dandenong Oasis.”

“While LSV had been committed to educating and training young people from the CALD community, the partnership with the YMCA provided a vital opportunity to employ many of those who wanted to pursue work in the aquatic industry.”


With its terrific early success YMCA Victoria and LSV have a goal to bring up to 6,000 young people from local CALD communities through the program in the next three years.

Find out more

If you’d like to discuss partnership opportunities with YMCA Victoria, call us on (03) 9403 5000.