2018 Training & Development event review

The WFS 18th National Training & Development weekend was held at the Fire Service College on 8-10 June 2018.  The theme for the weekend was entitled ‘Building Confidence for a stronger future’ and was sponsored by Bristol Uniforms Ltd, Rosenbaur UK Ltd and PBI Performance Products, Inc.

WFS welcomed 214 delegates from over 30 National Fire & Rescue Services and the RNLI as well as International delegates from The Netherlands and Sweden. Both men and women were involved in the weekend – as delegates and instructors

Guest speakers at the Friday opening ceremony were Dany Cotton, Commissioner of London Fire Brigade and Moira Cameron, Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London – the UK’s first female beefeater.  Both gave delegates a great insight into their career journeys which set the tone for the weekend.

The evening also included the WFS Award Presentations and we were delighted to present WFS Awards to Kathryn Billing (Bronze), Steve Taylor (Bronze) and Bristol Uniforms Limited (Bronze).  Congratulations to you all.

During the weekend, practical sessions on offer included learning about fire behaviour, urban search and rescue, incident command, first aid skills, multi incidents, be a firefighter and drive an appliance, firefighter fitness test.

There was also a range of other sessions aimed at widening people’s skills and improving well-being include reducing stress and sleeping well, authentic conversations interview techniques, fitness for women and public speaking.

WFS are delighted to receive such positive comments such as

‘It’s been a fantastic weekend – definitely the peak of my time at FRS’

‘had best time ever hoping to be able to come next year’

‘Really fantastic event, many thanks’

‘Really positive, inclusive environment, thank you’

‘Massive thank you to all of you for facilitating this amazing event’

‘A fantastic and inspiring event’

‘Thank you all – a really fantastic opportunity’


Be a FF, ‘Challenging exciting and great trainers’

Drive an Appliance -‘ Brilliant the best ever experience, fantastic instructors/ has given me the confidence to go for my driving!’

Fire Behaviour – ‘Absolutely wonderful, got to see a backdraft first hand/Amazing course and experience’

Multi Incident Scenario – ‘Loved it great opportunity to be OIC in BA and Drive’

USAR -‘This course has given me an even greater respect for the fire service. Just when I thought I couldn’t love the brigade anymore, I get introduced to USAR’

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service funded a number of places for staff with some really positive feedback

Burwash Firefighter Antonia Price said:

“This is the second year in a row I have attended the WFS weekend, I find the key note speeches thoroughly interesting and inspiring and the variety of workshops is just great. Everyone is so friendly and helpful it is such a great confidence boost and yet again I come away feeling like I can do anything I put my mind too.”

Firefighter Anne Goldstone from Green Watch in Hastings said:

“I took part in the advanced trauma training,  we were able to ask lots of questions and took part in practical scenarios , it was so nice to practice in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere with everyone encouraging each other and no test at the end.
I also really enjoyed the fitness for women session ,which incorporated Body Balance , Yoga and Pilates , I came away with some new ideas to incorporate into my fitness  training.”

Elizabeth Curtis, Communications and Marketing Manager, attended a workshop to find out more about working in a control centre:

“I came away with a greater understanding of what the role entails. I always knew our Sussex Control Centre team play a unique and important role in our service, but when I heard some of the real-life phone calls where operators had to give fire survival advice to panicking members of the public, my admiration for their hard work and dedication increased.”

Nicky Thurston and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews took the opportunity to promote HeForShe. HeForShe is inviting people around the world to stand together to create gender equality.

Mark said:

“Firstly it was an excellent weekend with fire colleagues at the top of their game sharing experiences and ideas for the overall betterment of the fire and rescue service. It was also a great chance to highlight the important issue of gender equality through the HeForShe campaign which seeks to encourage us all to take steps to do more for equality. It was great to see so many colleagues – both male and female – bringing equality to life and getting involved in the weekend. Those I spoke to took a great deal of learning and confidence from the experience.”

About Women in the Fire Service

East Sussex Area Group Manager for Hastings and Rother Julie King is also Vice Chair of the Women in the Fire Service.

“I have had the pleasure of being part of the team who coordinate this amazing weekend experience for a number of years and I feel immensely proud of all those who help run the event, but also all the instructors that come along and make the workshops so interesting and challenging. However most of all I am delighted to hear delegates feedback after the sessions, listening to people being inspired and gaining in confidence has to be the ultimate compliment.”

The organisation is made up of individuals working in the Fire and Rescue Services, who share a vision for the future, and are proactive in making that vision a reality.

Its vision: To work with Fire and Rescue Services in developing a culture of equality of opportunity and to support all women in achieving their full potential within it.