The Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence 2020 were announced on Friday 17th July via live stream.

Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC is delighted to recognise Graham Sharpe who was awarded Assessor of the Year.

Graham is an Assessor of the highest calibre and Swanbourne Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club (SNSLSC) are privileged to have him serve our Club. Graham has been a mainstay of the Education team at SNSLSC for….well… forever. There is no doubt that the contribution of Graham to SNSLSC, SLSWA and the surf lifesaving movement more broadly, contributes significantly to the collective and shared mission of our wonderful organisations, saving lives.

As an Assessor, Graham’s commitment is admirable. Graham is a high-performing individual in this space. Graham’s excellence in assessing is demonstrated by consistently acting as an Assessor in Charge at assessments across the entire surf lifesaving suite of courses including: 1) Powercraft; 2) Emergency care; and 3) Aquatic Courses (Bronze, Silver and Gold Medallion). In this role, he exhibits all of the qualities of an exceptional educator and assessor.

Graham is well prepared (almost too prepared), thorough, possesses high-level communication skills (both amongst the assessing team and the candidates), leverages all available teaching moments by using assessment as both a summative and formative process, and commits to constant quality improvement in processes and the people he interacts with at all stages throughout the assessment process. Moreover, Graham is almost the first person to stick his hand up when the bat signal goes up and we need to organise an assessor in a short time period.

Graham looks to the future. He recognises that leadership involves the development of people. Graham continues to mentor trainers, less experienced assessors and facilitators across almost all of the training courses available within surf lifesaving. Graham is able to create a learning environment that demands excellence but at the same time, is supportive and developmental by intent, design and execution. This is a rare skill and is one of the greatest one can possess as a leader and educator.

Graham’s attendance and contribution to professional development during the 2019/20 season included:

  • Attendee at SLSWA Education Forum and Club in-service
  • Completion of post-graduate study in adult training and development
  • Recent upgrade to dual Diplomas in Training and Assessment
  • A regular attendee at Surf Life Saving WA education events

Graham’s contribution to the continuous development of assessment processes and tools during the 2019/20 season included:

  • Participation and contribution to the review and development of the Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue Working Group 35th edition
  • Continuously sends through improvement requests to SLSWA on course resources and feedback on existing resources as part of an ongoing quality improvement process.

Graham’s major achievements and positions relevant to assessing during the 2019/20 season included:

  • Mentor to the new Education Manager for SNSLSC around course implementation, trainer development, assessment requirements and quality improvement process. The wealth of knowledge, guidance and support demonstrated to the Education Manager significantly contributed to a highly successful season within the portfolio with almost one of every course (Bronze Medallion, SRC, IRBC, ART-AID, Provide First Aid, Spinal Management) being conducted within SNSLSC for the first time in years. IRBD, Silver Medallion (Beach Management), Gold Medallion were all scheduled but were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During the 2019/20 season, Graham stepped back from formal officer roles but previously held positions within the Club of Lifesaving Manager, Education Manager, Club Captain and State Training Consultant. Season 2019/20 was one of the first times in 16 years that Graham did not hold an office bearer role at club-land or state. This decision is testament to his strengths as a leader and reinforces my earlier point. Graham’s decision to step down was driven by his desire to give others the opportunity to develop their skills and leadership within SNSLSC, recognising that by holding an office position stimies others opportunity to do that role.
  • Continued to mentor club and state trainers, assessors and facilitators
  • Regularly acted as Assessor in Charge at assessments.
  • Held the Training Consultant for Fremantle, Cottesloe, North Cottesloe and Swanbourne SLSC zone in the past.

Graham’s future plans for assessing and training include:

  • Continue to mentor club and state trainers, assessors and facilitators both within his Club and along the coastline
  • Aspiring to be an approachable leader for anyone interested in education within SLSWA
  • Aspiring to strongly represent WA at both a state and national level for education and lifesaving
  • Looking to step into other Club leadership roles in the coming seasons as driven by Club needs.

Graham’s contributions to surf lifesaving includes:

  • State Member Education Advisory Committee for this season, previously on the Lifesaving Advisory Committee
  • Technical Working Group for SLSA Training Manual
  • Previous facilitator for SLSWA Trainer and Assessor Courses
  • Has been an Active Member of SNSLSC since season 2003/2004 when he became involved in lifesaving as a school aged Cadet.
  • Holds a total of 138 awards of Surf Guard, with many of these relating to education, training and assessment.
  • Patrol Captain for 13 seasons including two Patrol of the Year wins as Captain
  • SLWSA Open State Championships Silver Medallist Open Champion Patrol 2014-2015

Graham’s commitment to training and education (and the surf lifesaving movement more broadly) over his surf lifesaving career is simply outstanding. He is an exceptional surf lifesaver and deserves to be recognised for his contributions, achievements and leadership.

Congratulations to Graham for been recognised as Assessor of the Year in the Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence 2020. This is surely the Club’s best height for award win in recent memory!