Fire fighters offered training for promotions

| 25/02/2019 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Fire Service officer

(CNS): Coaching programmes offered to all frontline personnel in the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) interested in promotion to captain and lieutenant attracted 24 officers, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a release last week that detailed the work the service is now doing to train officers who want to climb the career ladder. CIFS has faced significant problems regarding succession planning and is currently seeking an interim chief fire officer, who is likely to come from overseas after the first-ever non-Caymanian fire chief left the island last month.

Against the backdrop of an apparent shortage of local managers in the fire service and past failings to ensure staff were in a position to qualify for promotion, the ministry said that the recent coaching opportunity was the second that has been offered.

The initial coaching programme in August 2018 was geared towards those interested in position of deputy chief fire officer. “It focused on assisting the 14 participants with the development of essential leadership and interpersonal skills, so that they could all perform their best in the event that they decided to apply for one of the deputy posts, the recruitment exercise for which is currently underway,” CIFS said.

Officials said that an organisational review of the service conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2017 identified a number of issues, which the ministry has since been targeting. One key issue is the need for a talent strategy encompassing the individual development of existing CIFS personnel, recruitment, succession planning and performance management.

“The goal of the coaching programme and other training and development opportunities that are being offered is to provide CIFS officers with the necessary skills and tools they need to succeed and advance to positions of leadership within the new organisational structure,” said Chief Officer Dax Basdeo.

The release stated that the coaching programme is being offered by local company RESOLVE, which was selected following an open request for proposal (RFP) process conducted in early 2018.

CIFS said the programme “forms a critical part of this strategy, as it not only meets the individual needs of personnel, but also helps to reshape the CIFS’ organisational structure by fostering an internal culture of leadership development. The fact that this has taken hold and is gaining traction is evidenced by the increased level of self-selection amongst officers.”

The next round of coaching is set to start in April. The ministry said its approach to the “transformational change of the CIFS” has included a complete revision of the job descriptions, which reflect the UK National Occupational Standards (UKNOS), and it hopes to implement them within the next few weeks.

“The ministry is fully committed to supporting the CIFS on its journey to becoming a world-class uniformed service, and we will continue to provide the necessary leadership development, coaching and support as it adapts to the needs of our society,” Basdeo added.

The service has faced a list of long-standing issues, such as problems with morale among firefighters and a lack of personnel development. However, the ministry said it is now “proactively identifying opportunities to further enhance the career progression of staff in order to develop and promote the highest quality of frontline fire personnel”.

The results of the recruitment exercise for the deputy CFO will be announced before the end of March, the release said. However, there was no update on the search for a new fire chief.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To number 8. I do have a head that stands for correction, but there are some that do not have any grey matter in their heads at all. Also to number 5 Mr Nixon respected and cared for all of his men and the majority went overseas on training. However as good men as there is in the Fire Department they are not exempt from that Cayman mentality….. Crabs in a basket. Not everyone can be Chief nor Deputy. Mr Nixon is not here no longer to speak for himself but he made a large mark to not only the Cayman Islands but the Fire Service. Unfortunately he did not have the skill of cloning.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bring in an experienced fire chief from outside and give them a 5 year contract with the support to clear out those who just want to be disruptive , and promote those with a genuine interest in improving the service. As part of the selection process make them submit a talent management plan. Also keep interfering politicians off their back. We just let a good man go because of that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you; I’m going to be frank here, there’s no one in the Cayman Islands Fire Service that is capable of holding this job. No disrespect to any of the officers but it’s the truth, the interview with the Acting Chief speaks for itself. God bless these Islands we call home and hopefully we will get a Chief soon and turn this mess of a Fire Service around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Passing the buck ? If there are known disruptive agents, get rid of them now. Don’t let them fester and pass the unwelcome task to an outsider.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Coaching is fine, but experience is what is needed, especially of large incidents and situations that involve more than a cottage or dump fire, or car wreck.

  4. Anonymous says:

    local fire officers are happy enough with an easy pay check for doing little or nothing…..
    their record combination of overtime and absenteeism is the stuff of legend for the caymanian civil service.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There is no need to search for a new Fire Chief as the Acting Chief is quite capable and is doing a good job. He is from overseas but not far just Cayman Brac. This man has good training and enough years in the Service. Avery decent Cayman Bracer. Remember just until recent years they held the highest positions in Grand Cayman and still owns the best businesses. I have nothing against Expats but in this case there is no reason to have one fill that position. Yes and there was succession planning for the Force but one cannot teach behavior. All those men under the late Mr Nixon had good training not only in Cayman but overseas. We will now call Mr Tatum our New Fire Chief. We are waiting on our good Pilot Mr Moses Kirkconnell to stand bold and see that this is put in place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please get your head checked…

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly- please tell us how many got the great training under Mr. Nixon that you are spouting out. Mr. Nixon, of blessed memory really did not promote a great deal of training. I am really happy to know that a good number will now be trained up. I was getting really tired of voicing the idea on CNS. Thanks for implementing this rsther than allowing the fire personnel to just waste their down time. This is a plus for them and the island. Way to go!!

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