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AFAC Volunteer Leaders Program
Submitted On Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Submitted By Ashley Hosking

The latest AFAC Volunteer Leaders Program (VLP) - held recently at the NSW, Manly-based Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) - has been declared a huge success by all 22 participants.

The five-day residential program, which took place from November 2-6, was completed by participants from fire and emergency services agencies throughout Australia and New Zealand, with 2 representatives from the SACFS

Its intense nature brings together people with extensive experience in leading volunteer organisations and provides them with an opportunity for further professional development and networking with peers from diverse backgrounds.

The objectives of the program are to provide current and emerging volunteer leaders with the opportunity to develop leadership capabilities, extend their industry knowledge and form strategic alliances with other services.

This is achieved through examining leadership issues; exploring corporate governance roles and responsibilities; recognising different leadership styles and behaviours and strengthening personal effectiveness and workplace relationships.

The program addresses many of the significant challenges confronting emergency services today including a discussion of contemporary leadership issues, working effectively with the media and developing influencing skills. During the program, participants worked in groups to undertake research for and deliver a presentation on a major issue confronting volunteer emergency services. These presentations were delivered on the final morning of the program to an audience of their peers, AIPM staff and senior personnel from the emergency services including Assistant Commissioner: NSW Rural Fires Service Shane Fitzsimons and AFAC’s Manager of Learning and Development, Sandra Lunardi.

Two VLPs’ are run by AFAC each year with the generous support of Dulux/Bunnings who underwrite many of the costs associated with the program. The program has been delivered by AIPM staff, with the support of guest presenters, since 2003. Over the past two years the course has been coordinated by the AFAC Visiting Fellow at the AIPM.
“The effort made by participants over the five days of the program was amazing. The ability of a group of diverse personalities, many of whom had never met prior to arriving at Manly, to form such an effective and cohesive team impressed all the AIPM staff,” said current AFAC Visiting Fellow at the AIPM and Operations Manager (CFA) Geoff Conway.

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