The European Module for Oiled Wildlife Emergency Response Assistance (EUROWA) project, introduced late last year, got off to a strong start with a weeklong meeting hosted by the RSPCA, a project partner, at their Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre.
This first meeting brought all project partners and subcontractors together to begin developing the training modules needed to standardise skills among responders at six levels of competency: Convergent Volunteer, Advanced Volunteer, Specialist, Section Head, Manager and Veterinarian.
The workshop aimed to define competencies and relative responsibilities within and among the range of activities in an oiled wildlife response, including both field and facility operations. Small group brainstorming sessions tackled questions regarding functional environment, equipment/logistics, functional team setup, routines and processes, key decision-making, health and safety, and documentation and reporting. These sessions provided the initial outline of content for the training and exercises needed to deliver future responders at Convergent Volunteer through Manager levels.
Participants also discussed the range of different training methods that could be used, including classroom instruction, self-study of literature, tabletop exercises, skill exercises and small/large field exercises, incorporating the ‘dummy birds’ designed by Claude Velter as part of an earlier Sea Alarm training exercise whenever possible.
A core team has taken the results of the meeting and begun work on formalising the training content which will provide a European standard for competency based training for oiled wildlife responders.