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Our work with Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue

Management training proves a sure-fire solution for Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue

Most people are aware of the fantastic front-line service Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue provide to keep us safe, but what few people realise is that a lot of hard work also goes on behind the scenes.  In today’s world of meeting targets and measuring performance, the fire service faces the same management challenges as any other organisation.

Beds Fire and Rescue

Management support

Over the past few years Group Commander, Ian McLaren, has been working closely with Bedford College to develop a comprehensive and ongoing training programme for supervisors, middle managers and senior managers in his team.  Ian said:  “The fire service has quite a unique situation, where on the one hand our staff are highly skilled in managing a diverse range of emergency situations, but on the other, back at the station, they are expected to employ the same range of management skills and techniques familiar in any other modern organisation.  When supervisory officers are at an incident, they ‘command’; however, when they are back in the station, they ‘manage’.  These are two distinct skills sets and it’s not always easy to achieve both.”

Training partnership

Ian has been working closely with Bedford College to support the staff who have back-at-base management responsibilities by providing the relevant training and tools needed to deal with a range of managerial issues including appraisals, delegating, action planning, managing performance and team building. 

Ian said: “What I’ve particularly valued about working with Bedford College is their flexibility.  They respond quickly to my requests, they listen to what our specific training needs are, and then they tailor a course specifically to our needs. What’s more, they are very happy to deliver the course on our premises at our Training and Development Centre, making it convenient for all our staff to attend.”

Additional benefits

Ian has found the training process itself has helped bring together different staff from different departments across the fire service.  Plus, each member of staff taking part in the training has the added benefit of gaining a qualification they can keep and use, if needed, to gain future employment outside the fire service.

There are also important indirect benefits from the fire service offering training.  Over 60 per cent of on-call firefighters are part-time and respond from their home or work addresses, particularly in rural areas of Bedfordshire. They could be working in a range of jobs from electricians to senior managers while also acting as firefighters on a retained basis. 

The fact that this training is offered to on-call staff provides employers with an incentive to agree to their staff being away from work for three to four hours to attend an incident.  Ian said; “Working with Bedford College, we can now offer a real incentive to employers of our on-call firefighters.  Essentially, their staff receive high-quality training for free and the new skills their employees gain can be applied to their day jobs and be of real benefit to the company, as well as the fire service.”

To find out more about how Bedford College can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone: 01234 291747 or email: