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Future Training Strategy outlined
The introduction of a new state-wide ‘CFA Operational Training Strategy’ has moved a step closer with the release of CFA’s ‘Consultation Themes and Outcomes Report’.
Operational Training and Volunteerism (OT&V) Executive Director, Lex de Man says CFA members can read in the Report the result of their wide range of views provided during the feedback period. “Input and feedback has been overwhelmingly constructive and members’ practical explanations and realistic examples have brought life to the original themes of the Discussion Paper. This has clarified priorities for the future of training at CFA,” he says.
In total 190 responses were received, many of which were collective and committee based responses from teams, Brigades, Groups, Districts and Regions. Many others were from individual brigade members, particularly those holding brigade management roles.
While the full report outlines member thoughts in more detail, the strongest areas of discussion were around equality, transparency, consistency, access, valuing volunteer time, providing more flexible training delivery, improving training materials, supporting brigades and Groups to determine and deliver training programs, the imperative for real fire training, leadership recognition and development, and maintaining a clear view on the diversity of needs between rural, regional and metropolitan brigades.
The number one commonly discussed training need was access to ‘real fire’ training. As one member put it “I’ve got members who’ve been in the CFA for 4 years who haven’t been to a decent fire.”
Demand for smarter, better course design and better use of CFA instructors, trainers and assessors featured prominently within the feedback. Members felt that this would improve availability of and access to training and ensure that the time they committed to training was used efficiently.
Lex says there was a general theme across responses that ‘local is best’ when it comes to both the planning and delivery of training - “Brigades are best placed to determining what training is required at Brigade level. We have the opportunity to see our people under operational conditions on a regular basis.”
OT&V are now working closely with a project reference group including VFBV representation and a Steering Committee which includes Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and CEO Mick Bourke to develop a new state-wide Operational Training Strategy for release in 2013.
Euan thanked those who responded to the Discussion Paper. “It is great to gather these views directly from our members on the frontline. This kind of discussion, debate and explanation guides us to better decisions and will make CFA training, and our organisation as a whole, stronger.”
Euan says the report is an outcome from the implementation of recommendation 16 of the Jones Report that said CFA establish forward strategic planning initiatives for training with the resource allocation covering short term, medium term and long term.