Training Civil Protection Volunteers

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  • The Italian Civil Protection system has the duty to protect human life and health, goods and properties, national heritage, urban settlements and environment from any kind of natural or man-made disaster. According to Italian laws, volunteers have a very important role in this complex system. As you can see, in the Italian system, volunteers organisations are officially involved as well as all the other operational corps or agencies.
  • Within this complex operational system, each corps and agency has schools, structured training activities and career development procedures except for the Volunteers Organizations, whose main characteristic is the high level of voluntary commitment. So, for volunteers, although they are more and more involved in the system, the main possibility to improve their own operational capability, has always been to participate to non formal and informal (and occasional) exercises and training activities.
  • In this slide, we propose a map just to represent the context. As you can see, the map underlines that in Italy - learning and training programmes and initiatives are focused either on technical skills or on skills, knowledge and attitudes - any learning process could be the result of education or/and experience. Everybody knows the distinction between different types of training, that have different or no recognition system. As you can see in this slide, in the field of civil protection, as regards to the volunteers professional improvement, the importance of each single way of learning varies. The informal and non-formal learning represent the most important and more frequently used method. The informal learning is effective (such as exercises or real emergency management), and it is a very considerable opportunity, but it’s not enough.
  • Actually, the “formal learning” is the only one to have certification system and, at the same time, it is the less effective method to develop a volunteer professional outline in civil protection. On the other hand, the non-formal learning does not give any certificate, but only “certificate for participation” that has no legal value.
  • This slide shows the penetration of each training and learning approach in the educational and professional development of civil protection volunteers. Unfortunately, the formal learning, although we have good teachers and very good didactic systems, can not overtake the quality and quantity of informal and non-formal learning. Then, it’s time to completely renew the whole system, adopting innovative approaches.
  • This means that we should start thinking over on the development of a recognition and certification system for the volunteers operational organizations, so to increase the “weight” of volunteers in the Civil Protection System. How and what to do? According to shared rules and methods w e should then: - assess and capitalize the experiences - formalize the competences developed by volunteer - officially recognize the competences acquired in the volunteering for job career - officially recognize the time spent in the volunteering activity to acquire rights for pension schemes as it happens with the Italian civil service experience [that now substitutes the abrogated one year time compulsory military service]
  • In my opinion the development model of volunteers organization is similar to the Open Source one. As a matter of fact - the strong interaction between people is not only the effect but it is also the source of the development and the growth of the whole system; - volunteer organizations operate as “social network” because there is creation, exchange, and transformation of knowledge and experience; - the organizational learning perspective could give us some useful inputs, such as the importance of feedback and adaptation, explicit goals, methods, knowledge representation, and outcomes ICT [e.g. web based applications and platforms] could facilitate the organizational learning making processes, and enable knowledge sharing, making it more explicit.
  • In Italy according to civil protection laws, based on the subsidiarity principle, the volunteers coordination and training, tasks and responsibilities are shared between State and Regions. This duty has to be drawn by national laws as far as general guidelines are concerned, and has to be implemented by the twenty Italian regional governments for any specific and autonomous application. So, the National Department of Civil Protection gives guidelines and policies to the overall system, whilst the Regional Governments should develop activities according to national policies. In order to develop plans, and to take actions, there is a growing need to promote a new approach that volunteers organization could support and implement. Some example and proposal: - disseminate a lifelong learning strategy considering the overall system as a developed learning network - promoting self evaluation procedures and practices to collectively evaluate the performances - adopt a Best Practices approach: gathering, analyzing, assessing and sharing experiences and initiatives set up and promote a “portfolio” of Skills - Knowledge – Attitude, focusing on competences - rather than on tasks -, and raise awareness - the Observer approach: acknowledged audit and auditors - «Bilan de competence» as possible pilot projects to set up a “bank of knowledge” - encourage web community of interest [social networks] to share experience, exchange and transform knowledge/information and reinforce the participation and the commitment In this perspective the other European experiences in the field of competences evaluation, could be a key resource to draw guidelines and planning projects and activities on the basis of the results achieved.
  • Training Civil Protection Volunteers

    1. 1. Italian Civil Protection Volunteers: How to build and integrate competences? Lorenzo Alessandrini - Elena Rapisardi Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Department of Civil Protection FORMEZ – Civil Protection Area EVA Conference 3-4-5 October 2007
    2. 2. The Italian Civil Protection System FIRE BRIGADE ARMED FORCES POLICE FORCE THE ITALIAN RED CROSS FOREST FORCE NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH GROUPS NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE NATIONAL ALPINE RESCUE CORPS Operational Bodies at National level by the Law 225/1992, paragraph 11 <ul><li>2.500 organizations [including private associations and municipal groups ] </li></ul><ul><li>1.300.000 volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>time of response: 60.000 in few min </li></ul><ul><li>time of response: 300.000 in few h </li></ul>VOLUNTEERS ORGANISATIONS
    3. 3. The Role of the Volunteers in the Italian Civil Protection System <ul><li>The Italian Civil Protection , in order to be effective, needs to continuously improve knowledge, skills and attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>By the Law 225 par. 11, the Volunteer Organizations are one of the key back bone of the system, at the same level of dignity than principal national agencies. </li></ul><ul><li>All the operational corps have schools , structured training activities and career development procedures except for the Volunteers Organizations , whose main characteristic is the high level of commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers Organizations autonomously organize informal and non-formal training initiatives, accordingly to the change need: from “not specialized” approach to a “specialized” one </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment and Experience are key to develop the ability to manage emergency events, allowing people to become experts in broader sense: &quot;they have a love for what they are doing, which can only be captured through values and attitudes” [Knowles;1975] </li></ul>A brief summary
    4. 4. Map 1.0: Defining the context Technical Skills Skills – Knowledge - Attitudes Education Experience Formal Learning Non-Formal Learning Informal Learning The Good Teacher <ul><li>Training Course </li></ul><ul><li>Master </li></ul><ul><li>Vocational training </li></ul><ul><li>Seminar </li></ul><ul><li>e-learning </li></ul><ul><li>Work-shop </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Work-shop </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency </li></ul>teachers are mentors, creating incidental and spontaneous learning situations; learners acquire knowledge, skills and strengthen their individual attitude [e.g.: civics and social responsibility culture ]
    5. 5. Map 1.1: SWOT Technical Skills Skills – Knowledge - Attitudes Education Formal Learning Non-Formal Learning Informal Learning The Good Teacher Participation Certification No recognition System Experience S -> reliable, certified W -> focus on technical skills, “bite of knowledge” O -> acknowledged professionals T -> changing context and needs S -> widespread initiatives W -> inhomogeneous quality, focus on technical skills O -> ICT support T -> weak coordination S -> strong commitment, SKA W -> doing without learning , no awareness O -> share experience [e.g. ICT], learning networks T -> lack of assessment models S -> certified, focus on social value W -> teacher commitment O -> national programmes, risk prevention as social need T -> random initiatives
    6. 6. The Big Picture: Training Practice Technical Skills Skills – Knowledge - Attitudes Education Formal Learning Non-Formal Learning Informal Learning The Good Teacher Participation Certification No recognition System Experience Penetration
    7. 7. Civil Protection: Experience and Knowledge <ul><li>why the need for a certification system? </li></ul><ul><li>to formalize the experience developed by volunteers and volunteers organizations, so to increase their official role and “weight” in the operational context and in the whole system process and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>to assess and capitalize the experiences: moving from the “participation certificate” to the “certification” taking into account the volunteers training activities, focused on non formal and informal learning </li></ul><ul><li>how to assess, evaluate and certify? </li></ul><ul><li>the system, to achieve sustainable objectives for itself and the community, requires procedures to continually enhance and develop its know-how and the capabilities of those who work within it [virtuous circle of knowledge creation and mobilization] </li></ul><ul><li>at present the measurements, and the consequent certification methods, could only be applied to the results achieved </li></ul><ul><li>there is the need to develop a model to appropriately monitor the performance, to formalize and recognize competences [e.g. for job career and pension schemes] </li></ul>The certification dilemma
    8. 8. Rethinking the Structure <ul><li>the development model of volunteers organization is close to the Open Source one: strong interaction between people is not only the effect but it is also the source of the development and the growth of the overall system </li></ul><ul><li>social network: creation, exchange, and transformation of knowledge and experience </li></ul><ul><li>organizational learning: the importance of feedback and adaptation, explicit goals, methods, knowledge representation, and outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>ICT [e.g. web based applications and platforms ] could facilitate the organizational learning making processes, enable knowledge sharing, making it more explicit </li></ul>The Social Network Perspective
    9. 9. The step forward <ul><li>According to the Italian Legal Framework </li></ul><ul><li>The DPC gives guidelines and policies to the overall system </li></ul><ul><li>The Regional Departments develop activities according to the national policies. </li></ul>The key role of the Department of Civil Protection <ul><li>disseminate a lifelong learning strategy considering the overall system as a developed learning network </li></ul><ul><li>promoting self evaluation procedures and practices to collectively evaluate the performance </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practices approach: gathering, analyzing, assessing and sharing experiences and initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>the “portfolio”: set up and promote a portfolio of SKA, focusing on competences - rather than on tasks - and raise awareness </li></ul><ul><li>the Observer approach: acknowledged audit and auditors </li></ul><ul><li>pilot projects on Bilan de competence to set up a “bank of knowledge” </li></ul><ul><li>encourage web community of interest [social networks] to share experience, exchange and transform knowledge/information and reinforce the participation and the commitment transform knowledge/information and reinforce the participation </li></ul>The Approach
    10. 10. Lorenzo Alessandrini – Department of Civil Protection [email_address] www.protezionecivile.it Elena Rapisardi - Formez [email_address] www.protezionecivile.formez.it Mind is not a recipient to be filled, but a fire to be excited Plutarco, I° century AD

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