Making on-job training fun and fresh at H²O Xtream

October 17, 2018

H²O Xtream is all about providing a fun family experience for water-lovers, so when the team completed Skills Active on-job training together, they put their own stamp on it and made the process lots of fun.

H²O Xtream has two hydroslides and a speed slide, wave pool, toddler area, rapid river and lots of inflatables, says Kristin Raynes, Assistant Manager Operations. It also has a 25-metre lane pool, plus sauna, spa and steam room.

The facility offers a great day out for people of all ages and stages, and Kristin and her team put safety and customer service at the centre of everything they do. That’s why the organisation decided to roll out the New Zealand Certificate in Sport, Exercise and Leisure Operations (SELO) this year.

SELO covers knowledge and skills that are fundamental for people working in all recreation settings – but it also allows each workplace to deliver the training in a way that’s tailored to its own specific context.

So, during the pool’s periodic closure, Kristin and Administration Support Loren Marine arranged for their 18 full-time lifeguards and reception staff to complete their SELO training.

All pools have closure periods in order to maintain the facility and assets, Kristin explains.

“You’ve got all that equipment downstairs which is running 24-7 most of the time. Motors have to be rewound, filters all fixed and cleaned, and there’s general maintenance and upkeep.”

Closure presented a great opportunity to gather the staff in one place and go through SELO together.

“Because there was all of this stuff getting done, there wasn’t a lot of work for our staff. So we thought it was a prime time to do some training, hit the reset button, and upskill the team for when we reopened.”

First, Kristin and Loren completed the qualification themselves in order to get familiar with the content. Then they developed a three-day group training programme for the team.

The core framework of SELO allows the organisation to train staff in its purpose, vision and values, its structure and reporting lines, principles of health and safety, plus customer service and professionalism. But Kristin and Loren went above and beyond to extend the content and make the training days extra fun, thought-provoking and unique to H²O Xtream.

“Everyone has a different way of learning. When you are dealing with lifeguards, often they are quite on-the-go sort of people. They are usually standing on poolside,” says Kristin. “So we were thinking: How are we going to keep them entertained over two and a half days?”

The trainees brainstormed together and had writing sessions where they filled out their workbooks, and the managers were on hand to answer questions and help with thought processes.

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They made sure to break up the sessions with lots of practical activities that got people out of their seats.

There was a health and safety tour, a “human knot” team building activity, videos to watch and discuss, plus quizzes, prizes, challenges and role playing.

On the afternoon of the third day, they celebrated with a social debrief session.

The last remaining assessments are the practical observations, Kristin says.

Some of that was covered off in the role play scenarios during the training days, and the rest of the evidence will be observed and collected by team leaders in the weeks following the training.

Kristin says she and Loren put a lot of work into preparing the training, but the payoff was that the training days went really smoothly and the team enjoyed the process.

“Everything came together really nicely,” Loren adds. “We got a lot of appreciation from the staff as well; the feedback was that they really enjoyed the way we delivered it, which was fantastic.”

H²O Xtream has plans to put all new full-time staff through SELO going forward.

“These guys flew through it because they already know a lot of the content,” Kristin says. “Our new employees tend to be straight out of school and new to the industry, so it’s a really good tool to get them started around the vision and the purpose of the facility.”