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Saturday, 27 October 2012 13:32

Trainee selection day 2012

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Rescue trainee selection

Once a year the team holds a selection day where we assess for suitability those who have applied to become members of the team. In 2012 that day occurred on Saturday October 27th, that happened to be a gloriously sunny autumn day, not the best weather to test navigation skills!

Throughout the year applications that come into the team are collected by the team secretary and invited to a day in October where they can see if they like us, we see if we like them and they have the capabilities and dedication to become a full member.

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As we are all volunteers and there are many skills required of a team member, it’s important that the people we select to become trainees are made fully aware of what awaits them and the commitment required.  Callouts and weekly training,  specialist training at weekends as well as fundraising and support for events such as The Abbots Way, Dartmoor Classic and The Haytor Heller . Furthermore we don’t just rescue walkers, our work also covers swift water rescue for example where all members have to be at least trained to Level 2 : Bankside Support; as classified by Defra, as well as all our off-moor callouts.

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It’s not widely known that we frequently are called upon by the Police in searching for vulnerable members of our community who have gone missing due to dementia related illnesses, as well as suicide risks and on occasions, crime related scenarios. This could be on the moor but typically is in and around urban areas, including Exeter & Torbay, and  across the South Devon area.

A lot of the training relies on the generosity and time of the already busy team members to impart skills and knowledge, hence it is only fair on them that the trainees selected are committed to see the training through to completion so that this valuable time is not wasted. To balance the training needs of both existing members as well as trainee’s, we limit our annual intake to approximately 10% of the membership, which means that some of the candidates who attend the day will not be successful this time round.

The day begins

So the day begins in the rescue centre where the candidates are welcomed with a coffee and an introduction to who we are. Next its straight into the first test of the day with an hour to complete a written paper. That done its a briefing from the Chairman who highlights our intake limitation and the requirements and expectations the team makes on its members.

Other key members introduce themselves and provide more background on what being a team member means from their perspective and more insights on the workings of the team.

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Then its a tour of the centre, vehicles and equipment where members give an overview on all that the trainees will need to become familiar with over the coming months.

Next the candidates are split into pairs and assigned to 2 Hill Party Leaders who will be taking them ‘on the hill’ in the afternoon and early evening. This part of the day assesses their navigation, self sufficiency and survival skills, as well as how well they could fit into the team. They are given the grid reference of the start point for the navigation exercise and told to make their own way there.

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The car park quickly fills as members and candidates arrive. This causes a lot of interest from passing motorists out enjoying an afternoon on the moor seeing a mountain rescue Landrover and bright red team jackets.  But soon peace returns as the small groups head off onto the moor to return later in the dark of early evening where the day comes to an end over a beer in the pub. After the candidates leave for home, tired and a lot more informed about search and rescue than when they left,  the hard work begins as the Hill Party Leaders gather to share their shortlist of who will be invited to join us and which ones will get the no doubt disappointing news they, on this occasion, have not managed to make it, but hopefully they will try again next year.

The successful candidates will get a call over the coming days with an invite to our regular training nights. If they are still keen to be part of the team after a month,  they are issued with their training logbook which will be their focus for the coming 12 – 18 months. Then the hard work begins!

 

Trainee Selection 2012

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