Over the past four years, hundreds of European responders have opted to attend EUROWA training courses and obtain recognised qualifications in order to be better prepared to provide assistance during an oiled wildlife incident.
The portfolio of EUROWA training courses has been in place since 2016. This suite of modular courses includes 6 qualification levels. The first level, BASIC responder, was developed in 2012-13 via the POSOW project. The suite was significantly expanded during the 2015-16 EUROWA project to include a range of additional qualification levels (ADVANCED, SPECIALIST, SECTION HEAD, MANAGER and EUROWA Team Member) achieved via the various training courses outlined below. Course packages are provided in a flexible modular format, which allows different segments of a course to be completed at different times; and for responders to pursue modules which are more in line with their interest and aptitude. The course packages combine lectures, hands-on training, skill labs, exercises and evaluation of individual skills. Some levels also require online testing as a pre-entry requirement.
EUROWA Training Course qualification Levels and their training modules
- BASIC Responder: BASIC Field, BASIC Prewash
- ADVANCED Responder: ADVANCED Field, ADVANCED Prewash, ADVANCED Wash Dry, ADVANCED Pools, ADVANCED Release
- SPECIALIST Responder: SPECIALIST Field, SPECIALIST Prewash, SPECIALIST Wash, SPECIALIST Dry, SPECIALIST Pools, SPECIALIST Release, SPECIALIST Prevention Ops
- SPECIALIST Veteriarian: SPECIALIST Veterinarian
- SECTION Head: SECTION HEAD Field, SECTION HEAD Reception Intake,SECTION HEAD Stabilisation Prewash Holding,SECTION HEAD Wash Dry, SECTION HEAD Pools Release,SECTION HEAD Support Unit
- MANAGER Animal Welfare: MANAGER Animal Welfare
- MANAGER Facility Ops: MANAGER FHC Ops, MANAGER WRC Ops, MANAGER Infrastructure, Supplies and Support
- MANAGER Field Ops: MANAGER Field Ops
- EUROWA Team:EUROWA Team Member
The EUROWA packages provide a European standard for oiled wildlife responder training, as shown by the volume of courses that have already been completed. From 2015-2020, responders have completed training 487 times, at 29 training events in 6 different European countries, involving 7 organising wildlife response groups. The courses are delivered by qualified trainers registered in the EUROWA database as experienced personnel from EUROWA Network Member organisations. The following infographics demonstrate the spread of those training events and the responders that are qualified under the EUROWA banner.
The bulk of the persons trained have been at BASIC and ADVANCED level, providing a strong foundation of responders in each country that can work under the supervision of local experts, or international experts from the EUROWA Network. The EUROWA training accreditation system also recognises spill events as an important means of training and accrediting responders for different functions. The Bow Jubail incident in 2018 was a milestone training event in this respect, where a significant number of responders gained new or additional qualifications.
Looking at the total number of EUROWA responders in Europe, a total of 387 individuals have completed one or more of the training courses mentioned above. Responders are spread among 10 different countries, registered under 9 wildlife organisations (or as independent professionals associated with one of the Network Member organisations). The main bulk of trained responders are in the Netherlands, reflecting the fact that the Dutch authorities (Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta) support the development of the Dutch National Oiled Wildlife Response Plan through a multi-annual training programme.
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The latest training events were delivered earlier this year just before COVID-19 invaded our lives and normal working routines. An ADVANCED responder course took place in Ostend, Belgium in January this year, and a BASIC course was delivered in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands in February. The Network’s Training & Exercise Committee is currently working on rolling out the SPECIALIST and MANAGERS course package, including running an event later in 2020, as soon as COVID-19 permits. Further details will be published at oiledwildlife.eu/eurowa.
The EUROWA Secretariat and wider network are also working on developing a range of introductory e-learning training modules for EUROWA training that can be delivered remotely to EUROWA network members and other interested parties. Please contact the Secretariat if you are interested to discuss training opportunities.