Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service European Staff Exchange Programme 2007/08
Staff at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service recently celebrated their achievements arising from their participation within the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme. Presentations were made to participants by the Chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority â€“ Councillor Stuart West and Mr Kursat Egriboz, Director for ECOTEC (the UK National Agency for Leonardo).
In the spring of 2007 Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) successfully secured funding from the European Commission (EC) to facilitate the placement of 36 members of staff with fire and civil protection agencies operating in five European countries. The programme has built upon the successes of the 2006 staff exchange programme that involved the exchange of 14 members of staff to the Danish provider of fire and rescue services â€“ Falck.
The 2007/08 staff exchange programme forms part of the EC's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The LLP is a funding programme which supports education and training across Europe. The LLP provides for all stages of lifelong learning; for activities at school, at college, at university, in the workplace and in the community. The LLP is made up of several different programmes offering a variety of opportunities, SFRS have engaged in the 'Leonardo' programme which supports the development of skills and training. It funds work placements for trainees, workers and staff, and supports European partnership projects to improve quality in training.
During 2007/08 SFRS seconded 36 members of staff on one week placements to fire and civil protection agencies operating in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Spain. The aim of the SFRS programme has been to support the professional development of staff through exposure to new and innovative working practices leading to the transfer and improvement of competences and/or of innovative methods and practices in the field of vocational fire and rescue training. The programme, which concluded in January 2008, has produced many benefits, both personal and organisational. This has resulted in a highly motivated and enlightened workforce that has have developed the competence and confidence to constructively challenge UK conventions and introduce new ways of working.
During both the 2006 and 2007/08 programmes SFRS has hosted over 25 visiting Danish fire officers from Falck. This reciprocal exchange programme with Falck has proven to be extremely beneficial, as it exposures SFRS staff who have not undertaken an overseas placement, to Danish fire officers who operate and train and a dissimilar manner to the UK fire and rescue services. Perhaps the greatest difference being that Falck are Europe's largest private profit making fire service.