VICSES training our future leaders

VICSES training our future leaders

14/07/2023, 1:00 PM

The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) notes the achievements of its youngest members and the bright future afforded to them, by education, experience, and training, ahead of World Youth Skills Day tomorrow.

Whether they are surge volunteers, in a junior volunteer programme at a unit, or at a school: our junior members are mentored and trained so they develop the necessary confidence and practical skills to become future leaders in our sector, and beyond.

At McLelland College in Karingal, teacher and VICSES Frankston Unit volunteer Phil Holt runs a junior programme for aspiring emergency service volunteers.

Oliver Edwards, a pupil at the school, joined the VICSES juniors after a chat with his careers advisor. Oliver learned that his goal of joining the Australian Defence Force would be more achievable if he undertook the crew member training at VICSES.

Oliver completed both levels of crew member training, which means he can answer requests for assistance from the community unsupervised. He is now in his second year of the junior programme, this time in a leadership role.

VICSES juniors undertake a training exercise in casualty handling (photos credit: VICSES)

However, Oliver started with basic knowledge like tying a knot. Completing a sturdy knot in a timely manner is an essential skill as an emergency service volunteer. Transporting people and materials across distances or up a steep angle presents many challenges, so your cargo should always be secure. Once they acquire these fundamental skills, the juniors move on to working together as a group.

The programme shows the juniors how to work in a team and independently, in a public environment. At the end of their training, the juniors can perform their tasks without supervision, demonstrate their skills, and be able to demonstrate their knowledge of process and protocol.

The juniors train for 2.5 hours a week, and spent 75 minutes before each session doing theory-based work and, after a short recess, put on their uniforms and board the bus to the unit.

VICSES juniors undertake a Road Crash Rescue (RCR) simulation (photo credit: VICSES)

Each week, Oliver and the juniors are presented with a different challenge. As a group, they divide up tasks based on each junior's experience, taking turns so that everyone has an opportunity to learn. The juniors set up lighting rigs and generators, undertake casualty handling exercises - including use of a spinal board - and simulated search and rescue (SAR) exercises. SAR is planned search, where the juniors follow the most efficient search pattern to cover the widest area in the shortest time.

Right now, Oliver is getting his juniors ready for a weekend camping out, where they test their skills and complete their certificates. Earlier in the year, with three advisors in tow, 18 juniors went to a school-owned facility at Mahaikah, in the small high-country township of Tolmie. At the end of winter, over a rainy weekend, Oliver and his cohort showed their skills with water mitigation and flood control exercises, performing temporary repairs on damaged roofs and windows, stabilising structures, and properly setting up a water pump to drain a flooded area.

As we manage the impacts from a changing climate, youth participation in our volunteer emergency services is more necessary than ever for the quality of life and long-term future of our communities. Thank you to our juniors members, for all that they will do.

From townships on the Murray to the north, throughout the Mallee, over and between the ranges to the east and around the central plains; from the Bellarine to Port Phillip Bay: our volunteers are ready. Interested in volunteering with VICSES? Join Us.

VICSES juniors corp pose for a photo at the VICSES Frankston Unit (back row) (L-R) Kodi, Charli, and Matilda (front row) (L-R) Donte, Zander, Luke, and Ebony.(photo credit: VICSES)

Quotes attributable to VICSES Junior Member, Oliver Edwards:

“The first aid training hasn’t come in useful yet, which is not a bad thing, but I know I can jump into action if needed.”

“I’m one of those people that, even if it’s difficult, I think it’s not going to be that hard is it? Before you know it, you’ve done it. Break the task into sections, and with different people working on it, your group can get it done.”

“As a treat, at the end of the year, we learn how to safely operate the jaws of life on a wrecked car.”