Review of the 16th WFS National Training & Development weekend

The WFS 16th National Training & Development weekend was hosted at the Fire Service College on 17-19 June 2016 with sponsorship from Bristol uniforms.

WFS were joined by 139 delegates from over 30 different National Fire & Rescue Services, and included International  delegates from The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and Australia.

The weekend began on the Friday with delegates embracing an afternoon of creativity,  challenges and learning more about the college.

Dany Cotton, Chair of WFS opened the evening ceremony and expressed her thanks to the FSC for hosting the event.  Bernie Higgins, Director of Training at the Fire Service College expressed his delight at welcoming so many delegates for the weekend. Jenny Hill, who is currently seconded to the Fire Service College also spoke about her personal journey having previously attended WFS Training and Development events as a delegate and as a volunteer Instructor. After attending these events, it inspired Jenny to want to become part of the team at the college and applied for and successfully gained a secondment at the College.

Keynote speaker Sally Sheen, who was previously the Chief Executive at the Fire Service College and is now an independent consultant and coach, delivered a thought provoking and motivating talk which focussed around her personal journey and posed interesting questions to the audience to take opportunities when they arise and encouraged all to be true to ourselves and hold on to our values.

Presentations were made to Award Recipients for 2016 – Silver Award to Shilla Patel (LFB), Jim Gilbert (Hampshire FRS), Lee Joss (Hampshire FRS) accepted by Gina Gray on Lee’s behalf, and Bronze to Jan Dyer (FSC).  A special award was presented to Sally Harper (LFB) who has recently received the QFSM, in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours.

Saturday gave delegates an opportunity to experience the fantastic facilities at the Fire Service College.  Workshops on the fire ground included Multi Incident Scenario, RTC, USAR, Drive an appliance and ‘Be a Firefighter’.  Classroom workshops enabled delegates to find out more about themselves with Developing yourself, Personal Resilience, Unconscious Bias, Being Mindful, Leadership, Incident Command in the SIM suite, and Fire Investigation,.  WFS were delighted to have 14 female volunteer instructors during the weekend who are great role models for the delegates.

A large group of delegates (over 30) also enjoyed the early Saturday morning boot camp run by Kathryn Billing from Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service who always brings such energy to the event.

Sunday began with the WFS AGM, and following the formal business WFS said a reluctant and fond farewell to Anne Waters who has been involved with WFS for many years and has been the Treasurer for much of this time. A heartfelt thanks was passed on to Anne and best wishes for her future.

This then followed with an RTC workshop, Yoga, Fitness, table top Incident Command, and more sessions on Being Mindful and Personal Resilience.  The event closed at lunchtime with WFS receiving great feedback from delegates such as:

How inspiring to work on a pump with a team of women
Really inspiring to work alongside so many women and also to have exposure to working with female offers for the first time
Such an amazing chance to feel part of the Fire Service in a way one doesn’t always due to being in such a male dominated world
A thoroughly amazing experience
It has been above and beyond what I expected
It benefits and supports so many people

Raffle tickets were on sale during the weekend with a great number of prizes on offer. This year the WFS nominated charity for the event was ‘Home Start’ which provides help and support to families to give their children the best start in life. The final amount raised was a grand total of £417.00.

If you want to know more about WFS, you can visit, contact your local representative (detail on the website) or simply jump straight in and sign up for the next WFS event taking place.