Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll have today unveiled QFES’ new Volunteerism Strategy to better meet the needs of a changing volunteer workforce.
Mr Crawford said the Volunteerism Strategy – which was developed by and belonged to all QFES volunteers and staff – acknowledged the challenges faced by contemporary volunteering and unveiled a blueprint to address these challenges.
“This Strategy allows QFES to enhance its volunteer workforce through new and more flexible volunteer opportunities, as well as develop frameworks for QFES volunteers to forge closer relationships with their local communities,” Mr Crawford said.
“It will help deliver a contemporary and robust volunteerism model for the department which will benefit QFES and Queenslanders right across the state.
“Queensland has a strong volunteerism culture and through embracing our history and learnings, we can transform into an adaptive and modern workforce positioned to best service the state for many years to come.”
Mr Crawford said the Volunteerism Strategy was a direct result of QFES listening to its volunteers’ voices.
“The 2016 QFES Volunteer Survey highlighted key areas for improvement such as training, communications and leadership,” he said.
“Following the survey, more than 600 volunteers and staff provided more than 4,000 items of feedback across 29 workshops in 20 locations.
“By utilising the expertise and knowledge of our volunteers, we can work towards enhancing the volunteer experience.
“We are transforming the volunteering model by providing volunteers flexibility in how they support their communities, and we will continue to support our volunteers through a culture of engagement.”
Ms Carroll said it was important for QFES to be flexible and adapt to the evolving volunteer landscape.
“The Survey identified that while most of our volunteers were happy with their volunteering experience, there were certain factors which could be improved upon moving forward,” she said.
“This feedback was critical in the creation of this strategy as our volunteers made it extremely clear about what QFES needed to do to retain the wonderful men and women who make up our volunteer workforce.
“We will now undertake further engagement with our volunteers and paid staff to implement the strategy – it’s an exciting time.”
Ms Carroll said QFES encouraged a culture where volunteers were respected, recognised and rewarded for their local knowledge.
“It is vital we ensure our volunteers and staff are supported as valuable members of the QFES workforce who can contribute to their communities in a positive manner,” she said.
“QFES will work with volunteers to actively develop their capability by providing training frameworks and guidance.
“Our aim is to lead through a philosophy of best practice and innovation which will enable our volunteers to excel in their roles.”
QFES has a dedicated volunteer workforce, comprising of volunteers from the Rural Fire Service (RFS), the State Emergency Service (SES), peer support, research and scientific, and technical rescue.