FSC Branch 2015/16 Pre Season Meeting

The day was well attended with 30 members of the branch in attendance.
Steve Allan presented the Preseason Information & award updates then Implementing the new proficiency process: Skills Maintenance.

The Achieving Consistency in Assessment session produced a good discussion with the top 3 suggestions to improve consistency being;
1. Up skilling TAFs,
2. More networking between clubs including sharing training and assessments,
3. Emphasizing the need for TAF to use the latest manual or online resources as a basis for teaching skills

The Developing Club Education session showed there is a wide range in compliance within the branch. Training management (meetings etc.) - weak, Training and assessment  (forms, RPL, water safety0 - strong, mentoring - strong, Training administration mixed Trainer upgrades – mixed. In the sustainability section most clubs realize they could improve by using SurfGuard to gather data about their club’s needs, needed more TAFs to reduce burnout and have had little success with succession planning.  Whilst there is some cooperation and communication between clubs most clubs could see the potential for greater sharing of training and assessing and learning from each other. Most clubs indicated more communication between the CTO and their training team would help them to understand how they were feeling about their role in education. Club engagement with Branch was positive and monitoring of equipment was quite good. Most clubs are falling down in the area of club education meetings and can see how they could improve their Education structure.

The Utilising online learning (Member Portal and Pulse) was the most valued session of the day with many TAFs indicating they would like further assistance in this area.   It is hoped we can organize a session in the near future.

The final session of the day used de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats to get a picture of where the Branch stands as a whole as well as to make some decisions to direct future planning. 
White hat – Branch website needs updating and should show all 7 clubs’ training calendars to facilitate more sharing and peer support.
Black hat – Communication about courses is perceived to be very poor, succession planning is failing, many TAFs are feeling inadequate in the area of technology and there is some conflict in attitudes between trainers.
Yellow hat – Attendance at Branch PD days is encouraging, PD days are seen as very beneficial, SLSNSW resources are good and support of past and present DOEs is appreciated. TAFs also enjoy the team approach to training both within their clubs and across the Branch e.g. IRB training, First Aid, BBM and Spinal courses.
Red hat – IT anxiety common, some are overwhelmed and feel inadequate, feeling that Education has come along way in the past 3 years, appreciation of the resources supplied by SLSNSW, some are happy to be working together to solve issues and a concern that many members are afraid to put their hand up to assist with training as it is just too hard.
Green hat – great if all clubs could be provided with computers and superfast wi-fi. Members also want to see clubs openly inviting other clubs to share training and assessing.

Education in FSC Summary/Recommendations

  1. Whilst clubs decided they did not want to have mandatory external assessors it was strongly agreed that shared training and assessing should be encouraged within the branch. This will only be possible if clubs complete the Form 14 on SurfGuard a few weeks out from their expected assessment day as well submitting their training calendars to the DOE so they can be viewed on the FSC Branch website.
  2. There is a strong demand for practical PD days e.g. allowing TAFs to come together to complete spinal and ARTC proficiencies and learn of the latest updates in Education. These sessions are also a great opportunity for TAFs to share training techniques.
  3. Encourage shared mentoring of probationary TAF between clubs which also allows fertilization of ideas/ techniques and at the same time can be used to assist clubs who are struggling to find enough Educators.
  4. Most TAFs agreed that continual assessment throughout the Bronze course has many benefits. It provides encouragement and positive feedback to candidates throughout their training, helps to identify weaknesses which means further time can be spent on those areas, reduces the stress on candidates if the entire assessment is done on one day and allows for assessments to be done on days when surf conditions are suitable. If ongoing assessment is the method used it is vital thorough records are maintained throughout the course.
  5. There is a desperate need for another Training Officer Course as well as an Assessors Course. 

Michele Bootes
DOE FSC Branch