Our Trainers in Training

April 4, 2017 in General

The human resource of any organisation is one to nurture and sustain. Unlike that of any other organisation, however, the human resource of volunteering NGOs is all that little bit more valuable. At EFRU, our volunteers do what they do entirely out of will and selfless commitment. But the commitment that our organisation makes to the people who might be in need of its service is a serious one on many levels. This means that the organisation must not only ensure that its members are present when and where requested, but also that they are well trained to do what they are tasked to do and deliver professionally.  Our men and women need training and support, if they expect to one day go out and save the day… or more importantly, someone’s life.

Rescuers, first aiders, fire fighters: whatever the discipline, all our volunteers are trained by the Unit’s instructors on a weekly basis. Yet even our instructors need to get their own training shoes on, so as to have their skills polished up and their methods refreshed, periodically.

This was precisely the aim behind the latest Train-the-Trainer course which was delivered to 12 EFRU instructors coming from different areas of specialisation. This training initiative – ‘Designing and Delivering Effective Training Programmes’, as it was officially called – was intended to provide these twelve members with professional guidance towards delivering lectures and training sessions, especially with respect to hands-on instruction and practical teaching material. It was aimed at improving the instructors’ communication skills and introduce them to the theories governing the teaching/learning process so that our instructors could be better equipped to adapt their teaching methods to the different audiences they might have. The course, which was delivered in its entirety by Mr Patrick Psaila had our instructors not only learn all about the said theories and audiences, but also had them delivering a practical lecture of their own. Feedback was shared amongst the class and apart from the professional feedback of Mr Psaila himself, candidates could discuss their work with their peers in a healthy environment which was – let me state the obvious, here – conductive to learning.

This opportunity would not have been for us to grab, had it not been for the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector and the funds made available through the Training Initiative Scheme. Under the umbrella of its second priority – ‘Voluntary Organisations Training Programs’ – the EFRU was not only able to apply for funds for this course, but was also encouraged to rope in another volunteering organisation, MOVE, three members of which joined the EFRU members for training. A good 85% of the funds were forked out by the MCVS while both NGOs only had to cover the remaining 15%.

It is worth pointing out that this has not been the only opportunity given to EFRU to augment knowledge in the field. A few weeks back, thanks to the support given through the Training Initiative Scheme, Priority 1, three different volunteers were given training in Portugal by professional instructors from the Escola Portuguesa de Salvamento on USAR and Cave Rescue.

Co-funded opportunities such as the ones just mentioned are well worth their weight in gold. Without them, the organisation’s chances of paying costs for valuable but expensive training would be rather meagre. For the MCVS and the local funds made available to us, we are grateful. Furthermore we cannot but thank the individuals who have not only sought and targeted these funds, but who painstakingly compiled applications and met difficult deadlines so that our cause may be heard, justified and eventually given the much-needed financial boost to make it possible.

This project has been funded through the Training Initiatives Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.  This article reflects the views only of the author, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Iona Muscat
First Aid Instructor

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