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Greg Smith joins FPA Australia

Posted on : Tuesday, 10 May 2022


On 19 April, 2022, Greg Smith joined the Association as the National Manager, Accreditation and Training.  


He has taken over management of both the Accreditation and Licensing team and the Training team at an important time for FPA Australia, as we expand the scope of our Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and increase the reach of our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).  


Greg is the former CEO of Fire Industry Training (FiT), where he spent the last two years leading their fire protection training centres in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.  


Prior to this, he was the National Executive Officer Training and Education for the National Fire Industry Association of Australia (NFIAA).  


Greg has considerable fire industry knowledge and experience, and his new combined role will see him responsible for all facets of FPAS and the delivery of our RTO training operations.  


We asked Greg a few questions about his new role and what he believes is the future of training and accreditation.  


Welcome to FPA Australia.  What is your new role?   


My role is to manage and lead both teams to work together building FPA Australia's RTO and FPAS accreditation to new heights.  


There is a lot of work to be done in NSW for both teams but we need to remember all of our States and Territories and ensure we have the right products and services in place for local markets.  For example there is work currently underway on the VBA restricted hose reel and unpumped hydrant training, meeting members needs in QLD as they move into the second year of their new fire protection licensing requirements and of course the SA restricted inspect and test registration can't be forgotten to name a few.  


It will be a journey that I look forward to taking with members and both teams as we continue to learn, improve and build on the foundations currently in place.  


What do you consider to be the strengths of our training and accreditation functions?   


Both departments have a good foundation to build on.  The Barry Lee training room in Orchid Hills, Western Sydney, is a good example and a great opportunity to build our training in NSW which will also flow into accreditation.  


Both departments have really dedicated and committed staff who are member focused and ready to use their skills, knowledge and experience of the last two years to continue this journey.  


What challenges do we face in training and accreditation?   


Keeping up with the demand.  


Every workplace, every industry has had a tough couple of years and the fire protection industry really showed it's resilience.  As we emerge into living and working with COVID our challenge in both accreditation and training is taking the experiences of the last two years and applying it in a way that is helpful.  


Smarter use of technology is going to be a key factor, for example we now know that it is possible to create an interactive learning environment using technology.  


How we make the application and renewal process for FPAS more user friendly will be a key challenge for us as we expand FPAS around the country.  


What are the areas of greatest potential for the organisation?   


Over the last year I have really seen FPA Australia consolidate.  


A highlight of last week was meeting the board and seeing first hand how energised they are which is flowing through to all staff.  


An area of great potential now is building those member relationships and understanding what we as an association can do to meet and anticipate the needs for existing and new members in all areas including member services such as training and accreditation through to lobbying for a stronger fire protection industry.  


What are your first priorities?   


My main priorities are to:  


  1. expand the scope of our RTO to meet the needs of members and the fire protection industry; 
  2. work with our transitional FPAS license holders to help them become qualified; and 
  3. work with both the training and accreditation teams to enhance members experience and smoothing out the FPAS application process.  


You attended last week's Fire Australia 2022 Conference and Tradeshow.  From a training and accreditation perspective, what were your observations?   


What really stood out to me last week was how much the industry enjoyed coming together, the gala awards night was something else and well done to everyone involved.  The exhibitor stands all looked great and there was a really positive energy across the tradeshow floor all week which flowed into the breakout sessions.  


From an accreditation perspective I really enjoyed hearing the accreditation questions members were asking of the training team.  The RTO team has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to give members a one stop training solution for their accreditation needs which, from lasts weeks observations is working.  


The training team did a great job across all three days handling dozens of enquiries and we look forward to converting them into enrolments to get as many qualified FPAS practitioners as we can and provide ongoing training and development opportunities for members.  


The support for FPAS really stood out and the accreditation team really engaged with members listening to feedback and answering questions.  


Supplier interest in FPAS and training also stood out and I am really looking forward to meeting with many of the exhibitors to see how we can work together to benefit members.  


When you're not at FPA Australia, what do you most like to do? 


Watching my two boys play sport (basketball and soccer) and teaching them to drive, stay active by running, going to the gym and walking the dog.  Cooking for family and friends is something else that I really enjoy doing including firing up the wood fired pizza oven I made a few years ago.