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Five-year Training Strategy
CFA's Board has endorsed the introduction of a Fire and Emergency Management Training Strategy for the next five years.
The objective of the Strategy is to ensure that brigades and groups are supported and empowered with the right framework, systems and culture to deliver training.
CFA’s Operational Training and Volunteerism (OT&V) directorate has worked closely with Fire and Emergency Management (F&EM) in the review, planning and development of the new Strategy.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson says the introduction of the new training strategy follows lengthy discussion and consultation with volunteers that culminated in the circulation of a discussion paper in the first half of 2012. CFA members indicated that their strongest interest was in training matters concerning consistency, access, more flexible training delivery, and improving training materials. He says the feedback from that consultation informed and set the direction for the development of the Fire and Emergency Management Training Strategy. It encompasses many of the themes and recommendations of the Jones Report.
Euan says the Strategy holds true to the six themes identified in the original discussion paper. “This includes how we will improve training systems, the processes, and how it will be undertaken across all CFA,” he says. “The plan highlights the importance of developing our people, demonstrating leadership and continually seeking to develop our capability.”
The Strategy commits to several key criteria. This includes valuing members time and supporting brigades and groups to determine and deliver training programs.
Real fire training will be an imperative, as well as the recognition of leadership and development. The Strategy also appreciates the diversity of needs between rural, regional, and metropolitan brigades.
Euan believes that the successful implementation of the Strategy will ensure that Fire and Emergency Management staff drive the planning and achievement of training goals in partnership with brigades and groups to ensure that training is aligned with service delivery priorities. “It represents a strong step on the continual path of training development at CFA. We’ve achieved a great deal over the previous decade and this Strategy positions us to continue that progress,” he adds. “I think the new Strategy will position CFA as a leader in Victoria’s broader emergency service training initiatives.”
F&EM, in conjunction with the OT&V team, will oversee the implementation of the Strategy. The first stage of delivery is already underway with a number of actions occurring as part of CFA’s response to the Jones Inquiry. Other significant projects, such as the introduction of new fixed and mobile infrastructure, the minimum skills review, and development of an operational skills map, are also in progress.
Euan says another objective of the Strategy is to get smarter in how training is planned and delivered. “Volunteers can deliver training and must continue to be encouraged to do so. Our specialist instructors are fantastic and we need to use them to create the greatest value possible,” he says.
Planning for training in brigades will now directly involve CFA operations staff. “We’re keen to get our operations officers feeling involved and confident in their role supporting brigades and groups with training plans, priorities and delivery. Brigades have told us that their interaction with the operations officer on the subject of training sometimes starts and ends with a ‘Section 29’ inspection report – we will improve on this as it is a really important aspect to lifting brigade confidence and capability at a local level” Euan says.
“We’re aiming to provide a better system for training delivery which breaks down training modules and makes it easier to complete the specific training which volunteers need. This will include the ongoing improvement of timely and relevant training materials which can more easily be accessed and used locally.”
The Chief Officer says every brigade can assist in achieving the goals and objectives outlined in the Strategy. "I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the key goals of the Strategy, and to talk with your district and regional teams to discuss its meaning for you locally."
Every fire brigade has been sent a copy of the Training Strategy. It can also be viewed at Brigades Online on CFA's intranet.