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Our Trainers, Our Pride: Going the Extra Mile

His role as a trainer took on a whole new meaning when WO Nasiruddin Ghaffor received a trainee’s heart-warming note.
Our Trainers, Our Pride profiles outstanding Home Team trainers, a key force behind our ability to keep Singapore safe and secure.

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Photo: Chloe Low

What is harder than teaching someone to fight a fire? 

Teaching firefighting skills via Zoom, according to Warrant Officer (WO) Nasiruddin Ghaffor, Senior Course Specialist at the Civil Defence Academy of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

While the pandemic was the biggest challenge yet that he faced, WO Nasiruddin’s use of technology to unlock new and innovative ways of teaching earned him the Home Team Trainer of the Year (Merit) award, even though he has only been a trainer for less than two years.

Despite being a relatively new trainer, WO Nasiruddin excels at tapping on his creativity juices and produced training videos incorporating animations and infographics to engage his trainees.

“One lesson which required me to think out of the box was on the topic of carrying a fire hose. Besides showing videos of how the action is done, I compared the action to holding a bag of rice as they weighed similar, and the trainees could visualise and relate to it easier,” said WO Nasiruddin with a laugh.

Preparing Trainees for the Real World

With a focus on trainees first, WO Nasiruddin goes the extra mile in ensuring that the 22-week leadership course he designs is adequate to equip his trainees with the knowledge and capabilities required for their work. 

“Understanding and grasping the fundamentals of operations is very crucial, hence the trainings at the academy will need to prepare the trainees well, so that they are ready to handle future challenges, regardless of the incidents and scenarios they may face,” WO Nasiruddin stressed.

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WO Nasiruddin in class. PHOTO: SCDF

His trainees – full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and SCDF regulars – will take on commander positions after passing out. This includes overseeing the operations of tackling a HDB unit fire to large-scale industrial or HazMat incidents.

Ensuring Effective Training
Having had a decade of operational experience but little instructional training skills, WO Nasiruddin enrolled himself in the Specialist Certificate in Adult Learning Education (UP-SCALE) programme organised by the Home Team Academy (HTA), to learn how to effectively and methodically impart his knowledge to others. He credited the course for improving his instructional skills in the delivery of his lessons.

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WO Nasiruddin delivering a practical lesson including rescue equipment. PHOTO: SCDF

To gauge the effectiveness of his training, WO Nasiruddin uses data analytic tools to make sense of feedback from each lesson. The data is reviewed regularly so that he could tweak his lessons to suit the profile of his participants – not easy for a class size averaging 45 NSFs who come from diverse backgrounds.

“These young men come from all walks of life. It is definitely challenging but I try my best to engage every single one of them to ensure that none of them feels left behind,” said WO Nasiruddin.

His concern for trainees did not go unnoticed. While reviewing the trainees’ feedback at the end of a course he was struck by one of the notes: “WO Nasir was a father I never had.”

“I was surprised yet touched,” recalled WO Nasiruddin. “With just a few words, it brought a whole new meaning to my role.”

“My biggest takeaway is that as a trainer, we are role models for our trainees. Our actions and teachings mean a lot more to them than we may think,” he said.

Home Team Training Excellence (TRaX) Awards
The Home Team TRaX Awards are given out annually by the Home Team Academy (HTA) and recognise outstanding Trainers and Training Units in the Home Team’s Training and Learning Community. Follow HTA’s LinkedIn page for the latest Home Team Training and Learning updates.

Written by

Joash Tan


2 September 2022

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