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Our Trainers, Our Pride: A Fiery Passion for Teaching

A seasoned hand to groom tomorrow’s lifesavers and teach what no textbook can.
Our Trainers, Our Pride profiles outstanding Home Team Trainers, a key factor behind our ability to keep Singapore safe and secure.

Home Team News LTC Lee Soon Huat SCDF 01
PHOTO: Shafiq Guee

As Head of the Responder Performance Centre at the Civil Defence Academy (CDA), Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Lee Soon Huat of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) helps firefighters become operationally ready for any emergency, from a house fire to an urban search-and-rescue operation. 
 
How did you become a Home Team Trainer?
I was posted to CDA as an Instructing Officer in 2009, after fulfilling a stint as a Rota Commander at a fire station. During that first tour, my key role was to oversee the training of Officer Cadets. 
 
Following a term as Commander of Ang Mo Kio Fire Station, I was posted back to CDA as the Head of the Senior & Command Training Branch of Leadership Development Centre (LDC) before I was tasked to lead the Responder Performance Centre. In LDC, we oversee the training of Officer Cadets, as well as disaster management training. We also conduct milestone leadership programmes for senior officers. 
 
What are the qualities of a good Trainer?
A good Trainer needs to be flexible in order to adapt to the needs of our Trainees. Flexibility comes into play when the training method that we’ve become accustomed to only works for some Trainees and not others. So it’s a constantly changing ball-game for every batch of Trainees. This is refreshing for me as I get to explore new ways to deliver my training points.
 
How have the training methods of your team evolved over the years?
I think the implementation of S&T has been key. It has been a key force multiplier for SCDF, namely through our Advanced Command Training System (ACTS). This is a virtual simulation system established in 2015 that helps our frontline commanders develop their command-and-control skills. 

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ACTS in action. PHOTOS: SCDF
 
ACTS allows us to conduct virtual exercises and simulate potentially dangerous scenarios without the risk of field injuries. For example, we can simulate an oil tank fire and view what the commander is seeing, as well as hear the instructions that he’s giving to his men.

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PHOTOS: Samantha Fuentes
 
Moving forward, we also hope to bring virtual training into Trainees’ homes, as a form of self-directed learning. If we arm our officers with the means to train and practise any time they wish to, the sky’s the limit in terms of how prepared our officers can be.
 
In 2020, SCDF shared that it’s developing a smart-watch for frontline officers. Can you tell us more about this initiative?
This is a joint project between SCDF and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency, and it aims to give commanding officers and Trainers a better view of an officer’s vital signs and physiological data. Data from these smartwatches, such as the Trainees’ heart rate and training load, have given instructors meaningful insights into the physiological work strain faced by the individual Trainees, and allow instructors to tailor their training programme. SCDF’s investment in smart wearable technologies is really an investment in our people – the organisation’s most valuable resource. We look forward to the full-scale launch of this project in 2022.  
 
Share a memorable experience from your work as a Trainer.
That would be the Passing Out Parade in 2010 when I witnessed my first batch of Trainees complete their course. It was a culmination of numerous interactions and lessons with my Trainees and seeing them grasp and improve on the skills that I’d taught them. 

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PHOTOS: Shafiq Guee and Samantha Fuentes
 
To be honest, every Passing Out Parade since then has been equally memorable. Sometimes, officers who’ve completed their training will invite me out, and I get to hear their stories as full-fledged lifesavers. This is really validating for me as a Trainer. 
 
What do you love about being a Trainer?
It reminds me of the importance of continuous learning. I regularly upskill myself by attending trainer development courses such as HTA's Upgrading Professionally through Specialist Certificate in Adult Learning and Education (UP-SCALE) programme. Through such courses, I level-up on ways to use multimedia for blended learning, assess learning behaviours and build my Trainees’ competencies. 
 
Given how readily available training materials are, Trainees can now learn a lot by themselves. This means that Trainers like myself have to constantly update our curriculum with practical lessons from our own experiences, in order to value-add to our training sessions and teach what no textbook can!

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PHOTO: Samantha Fuentes
 
In order to do that, we have to be more than simply masters of our craft. Refining our firefighting and lifesaving practices, streamlining drills and ironing out any kinks in our lessons makes for a constantly improved training experience. Continuous learning also makes me a better person and helps me better train officers. More importantly, it makes for a safer Singapore! 
 
Our Trainers, Our Pride: Mind Over Matter
Our Trainers, Our Pride: Dedication That Knows No Borders
Our Trainers, Our Pride: Helping Trainees Become a Better Version of Themselves
 

Home Team Training Excellence (TRaX) Awards
The Home Team TRaX Awards are given out by the Home Team Academy and recognise outstanding Trainers and Training Units in the Home Team’s Training and Learning Community. At a virtual ceremony in December 2020, nine Trainers (individual awards) and five Training Units (team awards) received honours for their commitment to innovation in learning. Among the recipients for this year was LTC Lee Soon Huat who received the Home Team Training Unit of the Year (Special Commendation) on behalf of CDA. Congratulations to all our dedicated Home Team Trainers! Click here to learn more about the Home Team’s Training and Learning Initiatives.

Written by

Shafiq Guee

Published

9 July 2021

Topics
SCDF
Learning
Science and Technology
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