THE last two years have been quite the thrill ride for Ahmad Fakhrul Idham, 24, an employee at Legoland Water Park, Johor. He has worked his way up from a “slide attendant” to a head lifeguard, and has loved every second of it.
That’s because at Legoland Water Park, the lifeguards, who are literally stationed everywhere in the park, aren’t just responsible for keeping the visitors safe – they also make sure everyone has a good time.
“Our motto here at Legoland is to make every child feel like a hero,” said Fakhrul. “That’s one of the things I enjoy the most – playing with the children.”
All the staff at the park are given tips on how to interact positively with the children. For example, they’re advised to bend or kneel down to speak at eye level with the children. High fives, which you’ll see a lot of around the park, are also highly encouraged.
But it’s not all child’s play being a lifeguard at Legoland. Even after receiving their lifeguard certifications, each of them has to undergo vigorous training every week, for as long as they are with Legoland. Those who don’t meet the required standards during training will be assigned less vital tasks until they get back up to speed.
“We have to do fitness, CPR and first-aid, and, of course, water rescue training. They’re quite challenging, but I sudah biasa la,” said Fakhrul. This ensures the lifeguards are always ready to deal with any emergencies, though they are few and far between.
“Our safety policy here focuses on prevention, and the park is designed with that in mind,” he added. “For example, we have plenty of life vests located all over the park, and the lifeguards always remind the children to put them on before going into the water.”
Also, the lifeguards rotate positions every 30 minutes to avoid any lulls in concentration. As a head lifeguard, Fakhrul has the added responsibility of monitoring these lifeguards as they take up their various posts, but it’s a challenge he relishes every day.
Things were quite different two years ago, before Legoland Water Park opened its doors. Fakhrul had ventured into the food business, as it was always his dream to be a businessman.
The business wasn’t exactly going to plan, so when he heard about the opportunity to work at the water park, he took a huge leap of faith, quit the business and signed up to be a slide attendant.
“I’ve been swimming at public pools since I was six, and I’ve always enjoyed it, so I thought this job could be right for me,” he said.
He quickly got certified as a lifeguard, moved up the ranks to become head lifeguard, and now believes his future is much brighter. “There are a lot of career options here. I can go work at another Legoland in a different country!”
Fakhrul isn’t the only one to have had his life changed since Legoland Water Park came around. The park has created hundreds of job opportunities for locals around the area.
Nur Azila Abdul Latiff, 30, known to her friends as Noni, is one of four female lifeguards at Legoland Water Park. She worked as a banker until she heard about the opportunity at Legoland and decided to give it a try.
Her passion for swimming started when she was eleven. “I was probably a fish in my past life,” she said with a laugh.
She’s definitely having more fun now because the lifeguards get to go on the rides during the daily safety checks. “It’s like we play and work at the same time!” she said.
There’s also a great camaraderie among the lifeguards, which is important because it helps create a similarly fun atmosphere for the park’s visitors.
“We go out for dinner together and hang out outside of work,” said Fakhrul. “We’re really like one big, happy family here.”