Training and Events

New Training Model For Rural Fire

New Training Model For Rural Fire Date Posted: Mar 3, 2016

Updated March 2016

Within the March Update listed below is a mention for the new Rural Fire Training Manager position which the NZFS / NRFA are currently recruiting for. You can find more information regarding this position at the end of this link: Rural Fire Training Manager Position - Fixed Term.

The new 2016 Rural Fire Training Model document has been developed by the National Rural Fire Authority (NRFA) / New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) and describes the operating model agreed for rural training in 2016 following significant changes in 2015 to the rural training and funding environment. 


Emergency Management Qualifications Industry Training Organisation (EMQUAL) was formally closed in March 2015. The Government, through the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), made a contribution for funding volunteer firefighter training available via the Adult and Community Education fund.

The TEC appointed Skills International (subsidiary of Skills Organisation Industry Training Organisation) as the coordination body to manage the funding process and provide the TEC with advice about appropriate levels of provision.

The NRFA / NZFS are represented on the governance committee of Skills International. This funding provides a contribution towards training activities for volunteers assessed against unit standards, which can be used as a contribution to the cost of rural training delivery, and for training support (such as programme management, development, and quality assurance). The funding cannot be used for training-related activities under the NFRA that are not assessed by unit standards 

The following summarise the key responses received during consultation over a new training model:

  • PRFOs expressed frustration with the EMQUAL ITO model of the past ten years, the ITO casual reporting credit fee ($5 per credit), and a lack of confidence in the capacity or capability of the new ITO (the Skills Organisation) to provide an appropriate level of industry expertise, or service delivery, to support the development of qualifications, moderation of assessment, and the secure and prompt reporting of credit achievement to NZQA.

  • Current funding for training delivery was not viewed as being particularly problematic, especially at the more basic level up to crew leader.
  • PRFOs noted training schedules are already in place for 2016 and scheduled training should be free to continue seamlessly with minimal interference or bureaucracy.
  • The new operating model would need to support, and align with, how training and assessment is currently delivered to volunteer rural firefighters in individual regions. This includes for some regions a strong reliance on PTEs (including some delivery through PTEs).
  • PRFOs would like to see more centralised oversight of training across the rural sector (not just in relation to unit standard assessment).

  • PRFOs reported challenges regarding their capacity to deliver training and/or to develop new training resources.
  • PRFOs noted gaps in training currently delivered, and the barriers to bridging those gaps. In particular, the absence of any nationally co-ordinated training courses, particularly at higher levels, and/or the absence of any course materials means there are many positions within the management structure where no training occurs.

Overall, the PRFOs requested that the NRFA use this opportunity to take back its ownership and direction for training. This option is possible as the NFRA / NZFS holds the status of a Government Training Establishment (GTE).

As a GTE, The NFRA/NZFS can, if it chooses to, undertake most of the functions of an ITO including: credit reporting, appointment of trainers, training programming and materials, assessment practice, and quality assurance.  Following the strong advice from the sector, this is the direction followed for the development of the 2016 operating model.

Read the March 2016 Update here

Read the full document here