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Equipping CFA trainers and assessors with new technology

  | Holly Penketh Views: 699

CFA is continually reviewing ways to prioritise the investment in new technology to enhance the delivery of operational training consistently and safely. 

Equipping CFA trainers and assessors with new technology

CFA’s Digital Learning Program has been working on a new initiative to provide current trainers and assessors with a tablet to enhance their ability to deliver and assess training on behalf of CFA.

This project is in line with CFA Training’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2024 as it enables our volunteers who are trainers and assessors to be more productive when completing their work.

Replacing paper with technology won’t be for everyone, but these tablets are designed to decrease the paperwork for members.

The funding for this program came from the generous donations provided during the 2019-20 bushfires under the CFA transformative initiatives.

The scope of this project will cover the procurement of 4G-enabled tablets for use in delivery and assessment of training, along with required set-up and training, and is in line with CFA’s Training Five Year Strategic Plan.

The program will:

  • Provide tools for our VTAs to effectively and efficiently deliver and assess operational training for CFA
  • Increase efficiencies in training delivery, assessment and data management achieved through real-time access to all online materials and systems required.

Recently, the program completed an initial trail which involved eight endorsed CFA volunteer trainers and assessors.

Program Manager, CFA Training Delivery and Performance, Kylie Sterritt, said the trial provided the project team with great feedback.

“The trail allowed us to see our trainers and assessors work through a variety of different training exercises using the new tablets," Kylie said.

“We trialled the ease of use of the tablet, its ability to record training exercises and store information from the CFA Learning Hub, the time impact it had on members and any general issues that occurred.

“We were able to test out the various tablet sizes we have,” Kylie added. “We are trialling a smaller eight-inch tablet as well as a larger ten-inch one to see which works best for members.”

The next stage of the trail will look at increasing the trainers and assessors pilot group to 20. Members are currently being contacted to take part in the pilot.

“More people using the technology in the pilot will give us more feedback,” Kylie added. It’s important that we pilot this program with members who will be using the equipment out in the field.

“Feedback from the initial trial was really positive."

Trainer and assessor Harold Jochs thought the pilot went well.

“Fantastic resources and saves time being able to enter drill details while at the station,” Harold said.

Trainer and assessor Greg McIntyre also commented on how positive this new technology will be. 

"Access to tablets and the adaption of Learning Hub for their use will revolutionise training, assessing and reporting of courses and the recording of skills maintenance activities."

The project team are continuing to work alongside ICT services to provide the most suitable devices and support to members.

CFA received an enormous $200,000 donation from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia which will go towards funding the program. This is the largest contribution towards the total amount of $500,000 awarded to this project by an independent panel

The organisation raised over $700,000 in a fire appeal across the country. Donations were made to CFA, Bega Valley Shire Council in NSW, South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) and Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in NSW.

Very Reverend Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos said the fire appeal brought donations in from all over the country and further.

“Australia is our home, the fires were devastating, and many of our own members suffered," he said.

Very Reverend Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos is an Archdiocesan Vicar based in the District of Northcote, Victoria.

“We dedicated many events to fundraising for the appeal.

“Each year we have a special feast day to celebrate the Baptism of Christ. This happens at the start of January the day involves throwing a cross into the ocean and the first person to receive it is considered to be blessed for that year. We used these events to promote our appeal.”

“We also asked individual parishes to have collection trays to raise funds for the donation.

“The donations were made by the people, 90 per cent came from the Greek community.”