Fire Service looks to groom new leadership

The Fire Service is seeking to improve training opportunities for existing staff while expanding recruitment efforts.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service is looking for new leadership.

The Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs sent a notice late last month inviting Cayman Islands Fire Service personnel to participate in coaching for the positions of captain and lieutenant.

That opportunity for coaching attracted 24 officers, which is nearly double the response to a similar request published in August 2018. Officers were vying for the position of deputy chief officer last August, and the program focused on assisting 14 participants with essential leadership training.

The ministry hopes to announce the results of the deputy chief fire officer recruitment exercise at some point before the end of March.

PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted an organizational review of the Cayman Islands Fire Service in June 2017, and in the wake of that review, the ministry has been targeting identified areas. One of those areas was the need for a talent strategy that exemplified the individual development of existing fire personnel while encouraging recruitment, succession planning and performance management.

RESOLVE, a local company, was chosen to administer a coaching program by the CIFS following an open Request for Proposal process conducted in the early part of 2018. That program was designed to meet the individual needs of personnel and also to encourage a local culture of leadership development.

RESOLVE relies on both individual and group work in its coaching program, and it has a one-on-one coaching aspect designed to assess the capacity of each individual to work in a more challenging role. RESOLVE emphasizes foundational principles of trust and competence in those individuals.

“The goal of the coaching program and other training and development opportunities that are being offered is to provide CIFS officers with the necessary skills and tools they need to succeed and advance to positions of leadership within the new organizational structure,” said Dax Basdeo, chief officer of financial services in the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development.

The next round of coaching for the applicants for leadership positions will begin in April, and the RESOLVE team is working with frontline staff in groups of 10 to 15 people on issues and strategies that will give the CIFS a better chance of having a positive leadership culture.

The ministry is also hoping to revise the organizational chart and job descriptions of positions at the CIFS based on employee feedback taken from various levels of the organization.

The ministry hopes to implement the new job descriptions – which reflect the United Kingdom’s Occupational Standards – during the first quarter of 2019.

“The Ministry is fully committed to supporting the CIFS on its journey to becoming a world-class uniformed service,” Mr. Basdeo said. “And we will continue to provide the necessary leadership development, coaching and support as it adapts to the needs of our society.”