While fly-in, fly-out workers may be commonplace in the Pilbara, one school is taking the concept to a new level, employing FIFO swimming instructors.
Port Hedland Primary School, with the backing of mining company Atlas Iron and the local council, will this month provide students with swimming lessons for the first time since 2008.
It will be the only school in town to do so after a chronic shortage of instructors in recent years saw schools across the region forced to scrap lessons as part of the curriculum.
Austswim WA manager Sue Warner said a lack of instructors was common across the North West where it was tough to compete with high mining wages. Ms Warner said lessons at a number of schools in Port Hedland and Karratha had been disrupted or cancelled in recent years with many schools not having had lessons for three to five years.
As part of the program, Atlas will provide buses for the students to and from the pool along with the flights and accommodation for instructors sent from Perth.
It will help provide training to attract more local instructors.
Port Hedland Primary School deputy principal Trudy Burke said many children in Hedland would not have had the chance to take swimming lessons.
"My understanding is up here it is really difficult to get your kids into swimming lessons outside of school because there are such limited instructors," she said.
"To run them during school hours again means every student at this school will have the opportunity to participate in learning to swim, which is a great outcome."
Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden said the investment ensured Hedland children had the same opportunities to learn to swim as those in the city."This is more than providing in-school swimming lessons, it's about teaching the children a skill that could save their life or could inspire them to higher personal or professional achievements in life," he said.