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Our Trainers, Our Pride: Helping to Shape the Next Generation of Lifesavers
SCDF officers with a passion for sharing their knowledge of lifesaving.

Home Team News SCDF Trainers 2020 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

Meet two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers who are committed to nurturing the next generation of lifesavers – Second Warrant Officer (WO2) Abdul Rahman Bin Abdul Razak, who imparts paramedicine skills to Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedic Trainees and SCDF National Servicemen (NSFs); and Captain (CPT) Genevieve Lim, who specialises in HazMat training. As instructors, their goal is to share their experiences with Trainees and help them excel as Home Team officers.

Tell us about your journey as an SCDF officer. 
WO2 Abdul Rahman: I joined SCDF in 2005. I’ve held many different appointments, and from 2016 to late-2019, was a Trainer at the Civil Defence Academy (CDA). For me, being a Home Team Trainer means that I get to mould the next generation of Paramedics for SCDF and Singapore. I’m currently the Emergency Medical Services OIC for 4th SCDF Division, and am based at Bukit Batok Fire Station. 

CPT Genevieve: I joined SCDF in 2013 and specialise in HazMat training, which involves the detection and containment of hazardous chemicals and toxins. I’ve been a Trainer at CDA since 2016. Sharing my experiences and knowledge with younger officers gives me a strong sense of purpose and reminds me that my work isn’t just a job. 

How have SCDF’s training methods evolved over the years?
WO2 Abdul Rahman: Trainees – whether NSFs or regular officers – are more tech-savvy and skilled, and this has enabled us to take a lot of our training online. This allows Trainees to study materials beforehand, so that the time they spend in the classroom is more productive. Lessons can become more of a discussion rather than a lecture. 

CPT Genevieve: In recent years, we’ve also adopted new methods and technologies to make our lessons more engaging and interactive. For example, we use Virtual Reality simulation to teach Trainees how to go about conducting HazMat operations. This allows them to appreciate the complexity of responding to a HazMat incident, within a safe environment. 

What are the qualities of a good Trainer?
WO2 Abdul Rahman: Well, I’m a stickler for discipline and honesty. These must always come first, be it for an officer or a Trainer. As a Trainer, you have to be able to discipline yourself and set the right example for Trainees. You must also be honest in giving feedback, to help Trainees progress. I share my ideas with them based on my experiences and knowledge, explaining which areas they’ve done well in and how they can improve. This kind of honesty really helps Trainees go further.

CPT Genevieve: A good Trainer should also be committed to honing his or her craft. Sometimes we’ll have Trainees who are more seasoned and have attended to real incidents and cases on the frontline before. I make sure I teach with an open mind and heart, so that I can learn from them as well, and pass on this knowledge to other Trainees down the road. 

Home Team News SCDF Trainers 2020 02
WO2 Abdul Rahman received the Home Team Trainer of the Year (Full-Time) Award at this year's Home Team Training Excellence Awards. PHOTO: Rachel Sin

How do you enhance the learning experience for Trainees? 
WO2 Abdul Rahman: This sometimes requires a bit of detective work and observation, actually. During the first few days of classes, I often try to identify what kind of learners the Trainees are – for example, whether they’re more inclined towards theory-based lessons or practical, hands-on work. 

As for Trainees who are less adept, we’ll invest more time and effort to make sure that they can keep up with their peers. What’s most satisfying to me when I’m teaching is when I can spot the exact moment a Trainee has an epiphany.

As Trainers, we should give space for Trainees to question us. This allows for a broader spectrum of ideas to be discussed. That’s how we ultimately come up with solutions that can eventually become a new directive or standard operating procedure.

How has the training you received from the Home Team Academy's (HTA) UP-SCALE course made you a more effective Trainer?
WO2 Abdul Rahman: I attended HTA’s UP-SCALE course in 2018 and it made me more aware of how we can customise our training materials in order to help our Trainees learn better, and how much Trainees are able to absorb, understand and apply in practice.
The course (which is also a professional qualification that allows us to progress to a national training certification) also helped me understand how modern teaching methods and technology can be used together to pique the interest of Trainees and ensure better engagement and learning. Putting these lessons into practice enabled me to reach out to Trainees more effectively, improve their performances in paramedicine practice and make them reflective learners.

Home Team News SCDF Trainers 2020 03
CPT Genevieve Lim received the Home Team Training Unit of the Year (Special Commendation) Award. PHOTO: Rachel Sin

Share a memorable experience from your work as Trainer.  
CPT Genevieve: Sometimes we get the opportunity to share our knowledge in unexpected ways. Once, I was tasked to conduct a two-week HazMat course for some of our counterparts from South Korea. Though there was a language barrier at first, we used translation tools, hand signals and other means to overcome this and quickly build up a friendship. 

This hospitality was reciprocated when I travelled to South Korea in 2018 and was hosted by them in return! I was happy that our friendship remained strong, even after the course had ended. 

What do you love about being a Trainer?
WO2 Abdul Rahman: I enjoy it when former Trainees who’ve become full-time officers tell me how they’ve successfully applied what I taught them on the frontline. I know then that I’ve done the right thing for them, and for the community as well. It’s like links in a chain – I feel grateful to have contributed to saving someone’s life. 

CPT Genevieve: It’s been a privilege for me to share my knowledge in my area of expertise and, in turn, to learn from my Trainees. HazMat training can be challenging and I always advise Trainees not to be disheartened and to try their very best. Also, I tell them to not be afraid of asking questions, even after they’ve completed their training and are now on the frontline. The learning never stops in the Home Team. 

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. This year, eight Trainers and six Training Units received honours for their commitment to innovation in learning. 

Among the recipients for this year was WO2 Abdul Rahman Bin Abdul Razak who received the Home Team Trainer of the Year (Full-Time) Award. CPT Genevieve Lim also received the Home Team Training Unit of the Year (Special Commendation) Award. Congratulations to all our dedicated Home Team Trainers!

- Our Trainers, Our Pride: Securing Singapore’s Borders 
- Our Trainers, Our Pride: A Dynamic Balance
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Rachel Sin
  2. 03 September 2020
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