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RED ALERT: Landmark TAFE NSW course to help frontline workers prepare for the worst

TAFE NSW National Centre for Emergency Management Services

RED ALERT: Landmark TAFE NSW course to help frontline workers prepare for the worst

GAME TIME: Previous TAFE NSW NCEMS students in the midst of a mock emergency exercise. Frontline workers from up and down the Eastern Seaboard attended a special workshop at TAFE NSW NCEMS this week to help communities prepare for future emergencies.

21 April, 2021

Frontline workers from around Australia will descend on Wollongong this week for an innovative TAFE NSW course aimed at helping organisations plan and prepare for catastrophic situations.

In the aftermath of a series of unprecedented emergencies - including COVID-19, floods and bushfires - the TAFE NSW National Centre for Emergency Management Studies (NCEMS) will host a three-day workshop to arm essential workers with practical crisis management skills to manage natural and man-made disasters.

According to a report by Deloitte, the social and economic cost of natural disasters in Australia is expected to average $33 billion per year by 2050 unless steps are taken to increase resilience in communities.

The emergency management exercise workshops are part of a 10-week course offered by TAFE NSW NCEMS. Participants include frontline workers from organisations such as Ambulance Queensland, TasNetworks, Queensland Rail, Transport NSW and Victoria’s Corangamite Shire Council.

As part of the workshop, students will graduate with two nationally recognised Advanced Diploma level qualifications, empowering them to design, deliver and evaluate scenario-based emergencies for skills and capability development.

“This workshop helps students tap into their critical thinking skills to design and deliver realistic training exercises they can then take back to their workplace to help improve preparedness for a crisis or emergency,” TAFE NSW NCEMS Leader Alex McFadden said.

“After the unprecedented events of 2020, the most important takeaway for first responders is how we can work together to solve problems quickly and efficiently to keep us all safe.

“This course has been developed to incorporate lessons we have learnt from those incredible scenarios we saw last year. We aim to help students learn how to  push beyond their imaginations to build a more resilient and adaptive workforce for the future.

The course has been designed in collaboration with personnel from multiple states and various emergency response agencies, Ms McFadden said.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Belinda Mackinnon said the course was a timely reminder of the critical role frontline organisations played in responding to emergencies.

“The horrific events of the Black Summer bushfires are etched in our minds but we should also never forget the extraordinary resilience of communities and the organisations that serve them,” Ms Mackinnon said.

“We can’t always predict the timing or severity of disasters but we can ensure we are as prepared as possible to deal with the response and the recovery. TAFE NSW NCEMS is playing a lead role in that and the fact organisations from all over Australia study with NCEMS speaks volumes for its reputation.”

TAFE NSW NCEMS delivers industry-relevant crisis management programs and leadership development in public safety, delivered by teachers who work in leadership roles in emergency services.

As part of the course, former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Dave Owens will also address students.

To find out more about studying at TAFE NSW NCEMS, phone 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist