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Learning and Development Framework

This policy sets the direction for WMFS’ learning and development by supporting continuous learning and improvement enabling us to meet the needs of our staff and communities.
Category: 
Service Policies and Procedures
Reading Time: 6 minutes

1.0 Strategy

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is committed to developing its people so they can continuously strive to achieve the highest levels of excellence.

To achieve this, the framework is aligned to organisational strategy which is driven by the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP).

​​​​​​​WMFS ensures it meets its legislative responsibilities and enables individuals to develop and maintain their own competencies and abilities, so they can effectively undertake their role in an assertive, effective, and safe manner.

2.0 Purpose

This policy sets the direction for WMFS’ learning and development by supporting continuous learning and improvement enabling us to meet the needs of our staff and communities.

This approach is supported by our commitment to the principles of Integrated Personal Development Systems (IPDS) and Individual Performance Development Reviews (IPDR) underpinned by a workplace assessment process and organisational coaching culture at all levels. With a commitment to continual personal development and consistent formal and informal coaching in the workplace.

Fundamental to the success of learning and development is that individuals are fully committed to their own personal development.

For this to be achieved, people at all levels of the organisation promote a continuous learning and improvement culture to ensure skills, capabilities and behaviours remain current and relevant to organisational needs.

Highly capable and skilled staff enable WMFS to deliver its organisational goals and overall strategy in ensuring the communities of the West Midlands are safer, stronger, and healthier.

​​​​​​​The policy framework delivers the principles of IPDS for all staff including those roles deemed as risk critical in terms of our emergency response capability and the principles of successful Health and Safety management.

3.0 Responsibility

3.1 Individuals will:

  • Take personal accountability for maintaining and recording competence.
  • Be committed to their personal and professional development, embracing all learning opportunities, and identifying development needs.
  • Reflect on their performance and be receptive and responsive to constructive feedback.
  • Ensure their Line Manager is aware of any individual areas of learning and development.
  • Support others with their learning and development.
  • Strive to be excellent, always seeking continuous improvement and learning and development opportunities.
  • Support WMFS in the delivery of its strategy.

3.2 Line Managers will:

  • Act as role models.
  • Promote learning and development at all levels.
  • Improve, nurture, and develop teams and individuals to be the best they can be.
  • Carry out regular performance appraisals to ensure individuals and teams are performing against the strategy and developing themselves.
  • Ensure their teams maintain and record competence which is supported by effective workplace assessment.
  • Effectively plan and provide learning and development opportunities based on individuals, teams and Organisational Intelligence needs.
  • Celebrate individual and team success.
  • Create an environment where learning and development is positively encouraged, embraced, and learning and development areas are accepted, understood, and openly discussed for shared learning.
  • Capture, reflect and share learning and development experiences.
  • Support individuals with development plans to add value to personal and organisational improvement.
  • Identify, support, and manage talent to improve, nurture and develop individuals to realise their full potential.
  • Promote inclusivity by valuing equality and diversity.

3.3 West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) will:

  • Support the delivery of learning and development, ensuring that appropriate policies, structures, systems, and processes are in place, and that evaluation and monitoring occur regularly and that these are embedded and applied at all levels.
  • Assure individual’s competence against the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and National Operational Guidance (N.O.G) to provide standardised consistency.
  • Provide a range of learning and development opportunities to enable the growth of our workforce to its full potential.
  • Provide leadership development programmes that enable, develop, and improve our leadership across the organisation.
  • Provide blended learning strategies to ensure inclusivity that also considers Neurodiversity.
  • Take an analytical approach to monitor, review and evaluate its learning and development.
  • Develop and promote an open and transparent learning culture that is willing to acknowledge and learn from identified areas of development or improvement
  • Ensure that, where appropriate, qualifications are made available that are based on present and future organisational needs.
  • Enable an environment which will create opportunity to learn and develop.
  • Utilise digital solutions and technology as an enabler for learning and development.
  • Provide the relevant systems to support learning, development, and the recording of competence.
  • Ensure appropriate governance structures and frameworks are in place.

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Overview of Procedures

In the pursuit of excellence in everything that WMFS does, it is essential that we build on our current and future capability by ensuring that our workforce is trained and developed to a consistently high standard.

​​​​​​​WMFS builds a positive learning environment which allows people to be highly skilled and develop to their full potential to deliver the best possible service to the communities of West Midlands.

4.2 Community Risk Management Plan and Integrated Performance Development Systems

The IPDS provides a structure, based on agreed standards of performance, within which WMFS can identify, attract, assess and develop people to fulfil current and future roles.

A key part of the IPDS is how it supports WMFS’ objective of making communities safer, stronger and healthier.  

WMFS continually ensures that individuals have the right skills to contribute to community safety, therefore enabling its staff to reduce risks in the community.

The IPDS provides a framework to ensure that all staff are competent and able to support the requirements of WMFS’ CRMP and Service Delivery Model.

4.3 National Operational Guidance and National Occupational Standards

​​​​​​​WMFS ensures staff are assessed against National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Behavioural Frameworks.

NOS are a key component in determining role requirements by describing the skills, knowledge and understanding required to undertake a particular task or job to a nationally recognised level of competence.

NOS form the framework of our performance management system and are also used for competency recording in line with workplace assessment to ensure that staff meet their role requirements.

The NOS and National Operational Guidance (N.O.G) provide standards of performance that must be achieved when carrying out functions in the workplace, these are underpinned with knowledge and understanding of specific areas.

WMFS uses both N.O.G and NOS to agree standards of performance that will identify, attract, assess, and develop people to fulfil its current and future roles.

Integral to this framework is meeting the needs of the CRMP and a focus on improving the health, safety and wellbeing of staff.

As a learning organisation committed to continuous improvement, all aspects of the Learning and Development framework and its application are continually evaluated.

​​​​​​​WMFS creates an environment that develops, values, and enables people to be the best they can be in pursuit of excellence, organisational strategy, and continual development.

4.4 Training and Development

In WMFS all training and development provided is based on identified needs and assessed to ensure that it meets any risk critical development requirements.

​​​​​​​All training and development are provided in line with the following principles:

  • Training and development opportunities are determined on the basis of organisational need.
  • Development objectives are defined in terms of role requirements that can be applied in the workplace.
  • Individual development needs are identified through assessment of potential and workplace performance, and by recognising prior learning and experience.
  • All individuals in new roles are supported and developed through induction processes and appropriate learning according to their requirements.
  • Individuals who are learning new skills and knowledge are provided with an agreed Development Plan which sets out a learning pathway to follow. 
  • WMFS provides relevant development modules and activities to support the knowledge, skills and understanding to meet individual's identified learning and development needs.

4.5 Qualifications

Accredited Professional qualifications are a primary means of confirming the quality of learning and development activities.

Qualifications also:​

  • Offer consistent and recognised National Standards.
  • Enable the transferability of skills between organisations.
  • Offer the ability to benchmark standards with other organisations.
  • Provide a framework on which to base organisational and individual development and progression.

4.6 Maintaining Skills

WMFS operates within a competency framework.  This is important to ensure that emergency response capability is maintained.

WMFS recognises that the acquisition of skills and knowledge through training is essential, and individuals must then demonstrate they can apply them in the workplace. Therefore, workplace assessment of simulated or real-life performance is mandatory within WMFS.

Workplace assessment benefits individuals and Line Managers by:

  • Identifying and recognising personal strengths and areas for development.
  • Consistently measuring progress towards individual and organisational objectives.
  • Achieving a common sense of purpose and direction, based on a shared view of relevant activities.
  • Linking development needs to development opportunities.

In WMFS, the requirement to assess individual performance is reflected in all management roles and role profiles.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​All Line Managers are required to assess the performance of the individuals in their team. 

4.7 Health, Safety and Wellbeing

WMFS complies with its legal duties in respect of the provision and maintenance of Health, Safety and Wellbeing learning and development to all employees.

Appendices

This policy has no appendices

Document Control and Audit

Audit
Responsible SET Member OLPD

Authorised by
Juliet Malone

Direct enquiries to
policyofficers@wmfs.net
EIA (Date Completed & Name)02/02/2022 - Kerry Evans and Sillina Griffith
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Not required
Review History
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/10/2016OLPD
2.028/3/2022Juliet Malone and the OLPD team 
Amendment History

Version #
DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change
2.028/3/2022Juliet Malone and the OLPD team Entire document.•    Title changed from Organisational Learning and Development to Learning and Development.
•    Relevant contents integrated from Individual Learning and Development Framework.
•    Grammatical, structure and formatting amendments.
•    CRMP and legislation details added.
•    IPDS, IPDR and H&S details added.
•    Details added relating to Individuals, Line Managers and WMFS.
•    Restructured and links added.
To minimise duplication and increase clarity.In line with template layout and neurodiversity
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