The training of Defence firefighters has been judged as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, in the first inspection of the Defence Fire Training Unit (DFTU) following its move from RAF Manston to the Capita-owned Fire Service College (FSC) in Moreton-in-Marsh.
Delivered by Capita Fire and Rescue, the Fire Service College, and the MOD’s Defence Firefighting Training Unit, firefighter training has undergone significant transformation and investment through the Defence Fire and Rescue Project (DFRP) contract over the past 18 months.
Inspectors praised the ‘exceptional’ new accommodation block, ‘superb’ incident ground, and ‘excellent’ fire station at the College in Moreton-in-Marsh, which were delivered in a £5 million infrastructure upgrade as part of the DFRP contract.
The report also noted that training was ‘very well planned and sequenced’ and that trainees benefit from ‘real-life experiences at working in unfamiliar and stressful circumstances’.
Dominik Wellmann, Managing Director, Capita Fire and Rescue and the Fire Service College, said: “Transforming training is a crucial element of our mission to create better fire risk outcomes for Defence.
“Recruits are benefiting from world-class facilities, enhanced training courses, and modern firefighter learning techniques, all of which will help make Defence firefighting safer.
“We are exceptionally proud of the training we provide to Defence firefighters, and this report is testament to the dedication and hard work of all partners.”
Trainees learn vital firefighting skills, take part in real and simulated incident scenarios, and complete essential Maintenance of Competency training at the College’s 300-acre incident ground. The site can realistically stage fires, urban search and rescue operations, and motorway pile-ups.
Sqn Ldr Phil Haines, Officer Commanding, Defence Fire Training Unit, said: “The team continues to strive for excellence, ensuring that the collaborative working between Defence and Capita grows from strength to strength.
“This report is a true testament to the success of the relationship between the Capita Fire and Rescue, the Fire Service College and the DFTU.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Ally Johnstone, Defence Fire and Rescue, said: “This is an excellent result which demonstrates one of the tangible benefits that the contract with Capita has delivered. The facilities at the Fire Service College are world leading and the standard of training provided to Defence’s firefighters is first class.
“The success identified within the report is one of the many areas where real time benefits are being realised by the implementation of the DFRP contract.”
Training is just one component of the transformation of Defence firefighting being delivered through the DFRP contract, which has also seen the introduction of a fleet of new firefighting vehicles, new training rigs at stations, and safer PPE.
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