Skills Active Apprentice of the Year competition: Swim teacher keeps her eye on the finish line

October 15, 2019

Hollie Girvan had a clear vision, which helped her accomplish a swim teacher apprenticeship and a primary teaching degree at the same time – and now she is in the running to be the Skills Active Aotearoa Apprentice of the Year.

Each year, this award goes to a high-potential apprentice with commitment, passion and diligence, who has the skills and qualifications to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, through the medium of sport, recreation or the performing arts.

Hollie, from Havelock North, has completed the NZ Certificate in Aquatics - Specialised Swim and Water Safety Teacher Level 4. This apprenticeship is jointly accredited through Swimming New Zealand and Skills Active, the industry training organisation for aquatics.  

Hollie started her apprenticeship journey by completing her initial swim teacher award through Swimming NZ. Subsequently, she has continued working on her apprenticeship, and teaching at her local pool, for the past two years.

But that’s not all Hollie has been doing. She has been busy studying full-time towards a primary teaching degree, while pursuing her apprenticeship at the same time. Juggling two lots of study wasn’t always easy. However, Hollie says her time management skills were helped by the fact that she stayed focused on her passion – keeping swimmers safe. 

Learning is a lifelong occupation for the 21-year-old soon-to-be teacher. As she began to apply her new skills, she grew more confident in her knowledge and ability to pass on skills to her learners.

“On top of that, I also have now the knowledge around my next steps, and what I can do and who to go to, in order to continue to deepen my understanding around working with learners in a swimming capacity,” Hollie says.

Hollie wants to work in a school and lead the swimming and sports programmes. Her goal is to see students confident, comfortable and most importantly enjoying themselves in the water, just as she does.

“As a classroom teacher, I am in a position to make the biggest difference through not only teaching learners, but also helping other classroom teachers, to teach their students to be safe in and around water.”

About the Apprentice of the Year competition

Hollie is one of three candidates for the 2019 Skills Active Apprentice of the Year. The winner will be announced at the Recreation Conference in November. Check out our website to find out more about the other candidates!


Media contact for Skills Active

Esther McLaren

021 195 5127

About Skills Active

Skills Active Aotearoa is the industry training organisation for recreation, exercise, sport and performing arts. We are a non-profit organisation, 50% owned by Māori shareholders, and funded by government to promote careers and workforce development in our industries, work with those industries to create world-class qualifications, and support workplaces to train staff.