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CFA - Design and Delivery of Online Facilitators Masterclass

As COVID-19 put a stop to face-to-face learning for much of 2020, the Country Fire Authority engaged Serious Woo to design a masterclass to help their internal facilitators manage the transition from face-to-face The backdrop of our workshop spaces has changed. What are the new skills a facilitator needs to successfully manage the transition from face-to-face to online facilitation?

A masterclass for the facilitator who seeks to heighten participation, engagement, and fun in online settings.

-Employ the principles of experiential design for online spaces and how to maximise engagement and retention.

-Lead tried and tested online activities to create authentic connections quickly and effectively at a distance.

-Confidently navigate the different way people interact in the online environment and learn important camera tricks to increase both energy and intimacy.

Development of online course to support the Annual Firebrigade review

The Annual Brigade Review (ABR) enhances the CFA's traditional annual s29 inspection process by exploring every aspect of the health and capability of volunteer brigades, which includes the traditional s29 criteria.  The ABR utilises a strengths-based methodology and the process aims to empower volunteer brigades to identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The process delivers comprehensive, volunteer-involving capability assessments through structured, participatory conversations with every volunteer brigade (Approx. 1220 brigades). The ABR has 53 criteria, which describe what a brigade operating at its optimum health and capability would look like. 

It aims to give the whole of CFA a better understanding of the strengths of each brigade, and where they need additional support.

Serious Woo was engaged to develop a 5 part video series to instill the facilitation skills needed to roll out the ABRs across the state. The participant cohort consisted of a diverse volunteer base across over 200 brigades across Victoria. These skills were critical to ensure that a thorough review of each brigade could be undertaken that would ensure the transfer of all necessary feedback from stakeholders.

The diversity in background and experience of learners was far reaching, so significant work was undertaken to ensure that training was engaging and beneficial for the entire cohort. A common concept and language was developed for all videos which created a relatable and easily referenced anchor for participants.

The program was well received and brigades were successfully completing reviews at a much faster rate than anticipated with over 700 members completing the ABR by the end of Q1 (2019-2020).


Debra Salvagno

Manager Volunteer Programs, VST

Volunteers & Strategy 0409 928 791



Program Objectives:

  • Identify communication stumbling blocks and how to overcome them

  • Provide practical skills around managing critical conversations with colleagues and managers

  • Understand and empathise with brigade squad whilst still remaining true to the policies of Victoria Police

  • Design immersive mental health training in a productive and safe way for the facilitator

The workshop has given me great comfort in knowing various things about smooth facilitation. It is hands down one of the best workshops I have attended.​

Workshop Participant

Country Fire Authority

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