Youth engagement project updates

Pathways to Fire and Emergency Project - 07 June progress update

I’m still learning about the great things brigades are doing to engage with young people
Every week or so, I hear about something else a brigade is doing to engage with young people in their community and it’s inspiring! If you, or a brigade you know of, is working with young people – let me know. Your work might contribute to our project and/or we may be able to help in some way.

Good progress on our Gateway programme
The Gateway programme working group met with three potential resource developers late last month. We were impressed with the possibilities for our resource offered by each potential developer. They all seemed to have a sense of the requirements of our Gateway programme and the potential challenges. The working group has established a set of criteria we’ll use to evaluate written proposals and decide which potential resource developer to recommend to the Governance Group.

Out of school resource underway
A working group met to establish the objectives and scope for a UFBA out of school resource. The group agreed that the resource will leverage existing good practice to support brigades to engage with young people in their local communities in a fitting and relevant way. It will provide support materials which guide engagement and utilise the capabilities of volunteers. It will reflect good educational practice and support brigades to establish positive connections with young people’s knowledge, experience and identity. Advice and guidance on the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and health and safety considerations will be incorporated into the support materials. Young people will develop an understanding of volunteering, some basic fire and emergency related skills, improved teamwork and confidence. Ultimately, some young people who participate in these programmes will become fire and emergency volunteers.

The working group agreed a proposal for the resource which will go to the Governance Group’s next meeting for consideration. The working group will meet with potential resource developers later this month.

Collaboration to amplify our impact
I had the opportunity to share an overview of the Pathways project with Minister Tracey Martin in late May. The Minister was positive about the direction and approach of the project and encouraged us to consider how we engage meaningfully with Māori and Pasifika communities. The programmes we develop will cater to a diverse range of audiences, particularly those groups not currently well represented in the volunteer workforce. We recognise the benefits of diversity – a variety of different skills and experiences brings new ideas, faster problem solving and better decision making. Experience in organisations around the world shows better staff engagement and reduced turnover. Organisations with a diverse workforce significantly improve their reputation in the community.

This update provides a progress overview and if you would like more detailed information about any aspect of this work, please let me know.

I’m always keen to hear your feedback on the Pathways Project. As a member of the Reference Group you are helping to ensure any initiatives we develop are fit for purpose and it’s important that what we develop works for firefighters and their brigades.

If you think others would be interested in joining the Reference Group, please forward this message to them.

Ngā mihi
Angela (Project Manager)

Pathways to Fire and Emergency Project - May progress update

First meeting of the Pathways to Fire and Emergency Project Governance Group
The Governance Group, chaired by Hon Peter Dunne, met on Friday to agree the project’s goals and direction. The group will provide advice and guidance to me and the working groups that are set up to develop initiatives such as the Gateway and after school programmes. It will also advocate for and support engagement in the project in their sector. Members of the Governance Group include:

The Governance Group agreed a terms of reference and noted progress. They also approved the Gateway programme for further work which means we can go ahead and develop a detailed project plan and budget. The go ahead was also given to develop proposals for the after school programme, collaboration with the Student Volunteer Army and role play costumes.

Cadets WA
The Department of Communities in Western Australia funds the Cadets WA programme and last week I caught up with Lincoln George who gave me an overview of what’s offered. Cadets WA is eight separate youth development programmes which all aim to build confidence and life skills.  The Emergency Service Cadets programme is run in collaboration with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and local high schools. The DFES develops materials that are delivered by teachers outside of regular school hours. Each school is funded $415 per cadet and receives a start-up grant of $2,000. Involvement can offer senior high school students the chance to earn credits towards their Certificate of Education (our NCEA equivalent) which Lincoln tells me appeals to them. https://dlgc.communities.wa.gov.au/GrantsFunding/Pages/Cadets-WA.aspx

A better descriptor for fire and emergency volunteers
The term ‘firefighter’ is often used to describe all volunteers in a brigade but I’m not sure it represents the variety of volunteer roles there are. I wondered if it would be possible to find a more general descriptor that covers the broad range of volunteer roles? Fire and emergency volunteer? I’d be interested to hear your views on this.

Infographic for the Minister
The infographic below was developed to help illustrate to the Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin, our thought processes and development work that has already happened throughout this project. We've included this here so you can get a full picture of where this is heading - you'll see the outcomes are much broader than a 'cadet scheme' since we are looking at a 'whole of childhood' approach with a number of outcomes to suit.

Collaboration to amplify our impact
Conversations with Matt Ledgerwood, Little River VFB and Katie Bruce, CE Volunteering New Zealand have helped to increase my understanding of what’s on offer to young people currently and their views on volunteering. Katie provided some sobering data about volunteering generally which, according to the census dropped by 42% from 2006 to 2013 and identified that 14% of volunteers give half the volunteer time.

On the go now

If you would like more information about any aspect of our work please get in touch.
If you think others would be interested in joining the Reference Group, please forward this message to them.

Ngā mihi, Angela (UFBA Project Manager)

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