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Recruit Program Pilot commences
As previously reported, the CFA Minimum Skills Program was reviewed and it is proposed to replace it with the Recruit Program and the Bushfire Skills Program. These replacement programs will be launched in 2015 after a number of operational and implementation issues have been addressed.
In June 2014, OT&V launched a project to address the training-related recommendations detailed in the CFA report “Minimum Skills Review: Report of Findings and Recommendations” and in the Jones “Report of Inquiry into the Effect of Arrangements made by CFA on its Volunteers”.
The project focused on the development of training materials that brigades would use when training new volunteer operational members. The material is designed to recognise that members will learn more when working with their brigade than learning only through formal classroom-based activities.
The proposed Recruit Program aims to provide new volunteer operational members with the broad skills and knowledge they will apply when undertaking further training. The skills and knowledge addressed in the program form the essential requirements for operational response, and will enable new volunteer members to participate in brigade response activities while working under direct supervision.
The proposed Recruit Program consists of the following seven training modules.
- Working as a team
- Personal safety on the job
- Types of incidents CFA responds to
- Using the selected vehicle and equipment
- Responding to incidents and maintaining communications
- Command and control
- Using additional vehicles and equipment
The last module is proposed as optional to allow brigades the flexibility to introduce new volunteers to various vehicles and equipment they may use.
Piloting of the proposed Recruit Program began on 25 October with a state-wide pilot held at Fiskville to gather feedback on the proposed training material. Volunteers from across the state participated in the review of modules one to four. Further weekend reviews were held in November to complete module four and commence testing of modules five to seven. The pilot program is being delivered by representatives from the project team. The first weekend was conducted by Ian Atherton, Deputy Group Officer and Group Training Manager, Knox Group, and Peter Cecil, Instructor. Their contributions to the pilot program have been invaluable.
Feedback will help improve and refine the training material. The suggestion of a learning log (similar to a workbook) for new volunteers to record their learning and participation is supported by the pilot group. The learning log will give new volunteer members the opportunity to engage with experienced brigade members, record skills practice and participate in brigade activities. It will be used as evidence that members are ready for assessment.