STA Excel is the trading subsidiary of the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), and as a registered approved training centre (ATC) with Safety Training Awards, delivers Ofqual and CIMSPA endorsed swimming teaching, lifesaving, first aid and pool plant qualifications. STA Excel also runs regular tutor courses, both online and face-to-face.

STA Excel provides a personalised training delivery service for organisations of any size or individuals, no matter their location, and of note, over the last 12 months the company has seen a sharp increase in demand for pool plant training from large leisure groups, hotels and private health clubs. One reason for this demand can be attributed to the pandemic, with operators being out of practice due to two years of restrictions and furlough. Also, the skills shortage from experienced staff finding employment outside of the sector during this time – and the upskilling of existing staff, i.e., lifeguards as part of their career progression in leisure.

The STA Level 3 Award in Pool Plant Operations (PPO) provides the pinnacle in training, and was developed by Safety Training Awards in consultation with industry groups to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and relevant to the modern-day operator across all different pool types – from sports and leisure centres to hotels, swim school pools, holiday parks, spas and interactive water features.

As such it is endorsed against the CIMPSA Pool Plant Operative Professional Standard. The standard outlines the role and scope of a Pool Plant Operative and the essential knowledge and skills that are needed to meet the requirements of the sector minimum deployment standards.

The qualification has a technically advanced syllabus covering all aspects of modern pool and spa operations in a practical, learner-friendly way. The content follows industry guidelines from PWTAG, BS EN 15288, and a variety of health & safety sources; and it is supported with a comprehensive resource manual, and robust assessment consisting of six units:

  • Principles of healthy and hygienic pool water;
  • Principles of water testing;
  • Principles of disinfection, pool chemistry and dosing in pool plant operations;
  • Principles of mechanical pool plant operations;
  • Swimming pool heating, ventilation and energy efficiency;
  • Management practices and health and safety in pool plant operations.

Ultimately, the Level 3 qualification provides operators with all of the information to operate safe and hygienic pool facilities. During the course learners are assessed to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and understanding to achieve certification.

Following successful completion, the STA PPO qualification is valid for a period of 5 years, which is two years longer than similar courses, saving on revalidation costs. When learners need to requalify, there are a number of revalidation options available to suit the needs of the individual learner – from traditional face to face format courses, distance learning and online revalidations

Read our latest blog post which is dedicated to online revalidations

Demi Tripicchio, Sandwell Leisure Trust said:

With a love for swimming I started off working within leisure as a lifeguard which later progressed to a duty manager role thanks to the STA Level 3 Award in Pool Plant Operations. Not only did I gain knowledge on plant rooms, water testing and treatment, I also became more confident and progressed with my career; I would highly recommend this course to anyone as it opens up many new opportunities.

Not only do I understand how a pool plant room runs, I understand the health and safety risks involved and had great support from the course tutor. I feel proud knowing I’m responsible for the public’s health and wellbeing and running the plant room competently.

The other pool plant related qualifications STA Excel delivers, includes the STA Level 2 Award in Pool Water Treatment, which trains learners in the fundamentals of swimming pool plant operation, ideal for those supporting pool plant operators. There is also the STA Level 2 Award in Swimming Pool Water Testing qualification: which provides learners with the information and skills needed to competently test swimming pool and spa water, this is popular with swimming teachers and lifeguards responsible for water testing at their pools.