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Being Held Back from Developing


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Feels like our watch manager is purposely frustrating mine and others ability to progress and seems to get a kick out of the fact he has this power over us, solutions please? Currently stuck as trainee even though have passed the basic and RTC, other's that have passed the basic have been put straight onto development. Not receiving on call hourly rate for this reason and lost over £120 in pay each.

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Bit of background please

  • What service is this?
  • How long have you been in?
  • Does your service frown upon secondary employment whilst in development?
  • How long should your development be? I presume youre frustrated that you are not receiving competant pay?
  • What core competancies do you need to sign off before becoming competant?
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Not frustrated at not being paid competent pay, that takes around 18 months. I'm on call so I'm expected to be doing a second job.

Core competencies required to be taken out of trainee is basically show we can open the bay doors, book a visitor in and show we can update our personal details on the intranet. It's more to do with the smirk he had when we asked about it. Then boasted about how much he had earned that day later on. It was all a bit ..really?

As I was typing this half way through I had a shout to an RTC, such a buzz and reminds me why I'm doing this. It's just I left a job because I was bullied out of it, to then jump into a new role where there is also an individual amongst a great bunch of guys who appears to be going down the same route. We were told at our induction "don't upset your watch"...

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Lostit, I would be careful about using a public forum to air what may be a private matter but a bit of advice anyway. 

Forgive me if I've read this wrong but you're frustrated you're missing out on money? If there are two levels of development pay and you feel you've done enough to be signed off on the first part, I would ask for a meeting with your watch manager to specifically discuss it and if there is anyone in the same boat as you, or one of the older hands you trust have them accompany you. If your WM says no, then find out what extra you are being asked to do and if you think this is unreasonable or more than others have been asked to do then that's a different discussion.

On call development is very much an individually driven thing whether that's right or wrong. You will need to push it every step of the way in terms of recording activities and getting modules signed off, not saying you are but do not expect anything to be given to you on a plate. Your crew and watch managers have a lot of admin and other bits to be doing and unfortunately recording activities for firefighters development may sometimes fall behind -keep a note of every shout you go on and what specifically you did and who was in charge and ping it in an email to them. That gives you the best chance of keeping your development on track. 

And lastly.... As with any job whether it's a small group of 7/8 or a larger station of 25 or so you won't get on with everyone all of the time . As for your comment about being told not to upset your watch manager I'd be very surprised in the current climate if this was said seriously and not tongue in cheek.

From what you've said you've experienced bullying in the workplace before and to think you're having the same experience again must be disheartening but bullying is taken very seriously in the fire service so if there is a genuine case you will be backed up. 

Hope this helps and it resolves itself soon.

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Could I please take the opportunity to remind members of the following post please.

It's also evident from the number of views within the FAQ Section of the forum, that members are not reading these threads which is resulting in the moderating team having to reiterate certain aspects of the forum and its use. 

Therefore if I could ask that members familiarise themselves with the FAQ, it would be appreciated. I apologise for putting it in this thread, but if I put it in the FAQ section, no one would read it 🤫

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@LostIt  Just to clarify, you are a fairly new on call firefighter and feel a bit aggrieved at being stuck on trainee pay because your Watch Manager won't sign off that you have completed certain tasks - does that sum it up accurately? 

This is all going to be very service dependant as we all have different requirements for moving from trainee to development so it's difficult to give you detailed advice.  As an on call Watch Manager, I will give full support to my trainees to get then into development and on to competency as fast as I can whilst still being sure that I do my job and ensure they are meeting the required standards. I  see no point in keeping them on trainee pay any longer than necessary,  it just means they get demotivated and aleave. I also can't utilise them as a full crew member.  I plan their training to allow them to get through to development as fast as possible.   I do though put the onus on them to get their training and experience records up to date and to tell me if anything is flagged as needing my attention because as others have said I have admin tasks coming out of my ears and I too have to hold down a full time job away from the service. 

Has your WM made it clear why he didn't sign you off, what you need to achieve to be signed off and what timescales you have for any retest etc?  If not, then I would politely ask for a meeting and ask for that information,  then you are both clear on what you need to do.  I don't know whether your service uses informal records of conversation but if they do then I would get the outcome noted.  If they don't then I would send him an email after saying "Just to summarise my understanding of our meeting, this is what I believe we agreed...." then you can refer back to this later if needed.

Once you have a clear way forward, work towards it but keep notes of what you do in the way of study / training for this, again to refer back to if needed.

If, at the end of the agreed process, he won't sign you off then you may need to involve a union rep or get a more senior manager involved but you will have evidence of the work you have done to address the issue. 

I hope you can resolve this amicably, that there is an element of misunderstanding there and would like to think your WM would be horrified to see how you have interpreted his behaviour.  Keep us updated as to how it goes.


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