Beware office banter – you don’t know who you might offend When it was announced in September that police officers in Leicestershire were being offered what was described as “banter training”, most of the press reports mockingly suggested that there were better things for the police force to be spending its money on.The stated aims of the course included reducing the risk of tribunal claims and the number of staff who felt “excluded, unhappy or unproductive”, while recognising that the workplace should be a social environment. Reduced to very simplistic terms: to distinguish between good and bad banter.Is providing such training as daft as was suggested at the time, or is it sensible to help your employees gain a better understanding of the type of comments which might put them and the organisation at risk?The word “banter” was originally defined as “the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks”, but more recently has often been used even where all the teasing is one way, or where the remarks would be regarded by most people as objectionable.Commentators and employment judges have observed in the past that it can sometimes be used to distance oneself from, or make light of, unpleasant comments. Anthony Sakrouge Late last month, Topshop owner Sir Philip Green rejected allegations that he had engaged in unlawful racist or sexist behaviour, saying that as far as he was concerned there had been some banter, but that this had never been offensive.At this stage, it is not possible to say whether there is any truth at all to the allegations. But the case does raise again the question of exactly where the line on banter should be drawn. People want to be able to enjoy themselves at work, and it is difficult for them to do that if they have to be too guarded about what they say. They often reject advice as political correctness, and even very intelligent individuals who may have legal training are sometimes outraged when a comment that they regard as amusing, or at least inoffensive, could possibly upset someone else.The effective use of humour can make the workplace much more pleasant for everybody. But appropriate training can help your employees to understand that humour is unfortunately sometimes also used with the intention of belittling or demeaning someone, or making that person feel excluded and unwelcome.The fact that the people who engage in any banter may find it acceptable is no guarantee that it will not offend someone else (or would not be regarded as offensive by a judge).Saying anything that is objectively capable of causing offence is therefore not without certain risks, unless you are completely confident that it will not be used against you by anyone else present, even if circumstances were to change.It is also worth considering that the life experience of the person who has been offended may be very different from yours, or from what you imagine, and this is likely to inform any reaction – which is one reason why no two people agree exactly on what is offensive and what is not. Share whatsapp Monday 19 November 2018 10:25 am Tags: Sir Philip Green Also, appreciate that if you engage in banter and want to say something outrageous, would you relish having to defend it if it was recorded and played back in a disciplinary or tribunal hearing?In a sense, you are putting yourself at the mercy of everyone present and within earshot.It should also be remembered that, in the context of the workplace, a Match of the Day type warning (“if you’re easily offended, stop listening now”) is very unlikely to work. Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeStyleVampBeauty: In Real Life “Bernadette” is stealing “Penny” the showStyleVampUndoHealth.recetasgetHeart Attack Early Warning Signs and SymptomsHealth.recetasgetUndominduper.comThe five aspects of a holistic dietminduper.comUndoThe Sofa Love Best Sofas for Lower Back Pain that actually works in 2021 – Buying GuideThe Sofa Love UndoBuzzDestination7 Types of Men Who Are Not Made For RelationshipsBuzzDestinationUndocutenova.com10 Dreamiest Celeb Houses We’d Like To Live Incutenova.comUndoDinnerZUTop 5 Foods That Help Lose Weight FastDinnerZUUndowomengetfreebies.comGet free samples sent to your home. 100% free. Sign up Nowwomengetfreebies.comUndoMold Removal | Search AdsBathroom Mold Removal Tips That Might Surprise Most AmericansMold Removal | Search AdsUndo whatsapp
The historic insurance marketplace will put up banners and posters around EC3 following a swathe of misconduct allegations that have rocked its reputation. In September Lloyd’sreleased a survey which found that almost 500 people in the marketsuffered or observed sexual harassment over the last year. Lloyd’s of London poster “I think everyone has a role to play. Lloyd’s leadership is fully committed to transforming the culture at Lloyd’s with shared values that will shape the behaviours, choices and actions of everyone in the marketplace.” Main image credit: Lloyd’s of London One of Lloyd’s of London’s posters that will adorn City pubs (Image credit: Lloyd’s of London) He added: “The ambition here is to make a positive difference in many people’s lives, by empowering individuals to act and intervene when they witness unacceptable behaviour. Sebastian McCarthy whatsapp Read more: Lloyd’s of London sets out electronic modernisation drive Lloyd’s of Londonis targeting the insurance industry’s bustling pubs and cafes aspart of a company campaign to tackle harassment and misconduct. Lloyd’s of London to put up posters in City pubs in bid to tackle culture problems John Neal, the chief executive of Lloyd’s, said: “At Lloyd’s we expect all market participants to act with integrity, be respectful and always speak up. I hope this campaign encourages more people to do so. Share Read more: Nearly 500 Lloyd’s workers report sexual harassment Lloyd’s chiefexecutive John Neal, who described the results of the poll as “starkand totally unacceptable”, has promised a crackdown on the sector’snotoriously boozy culture in a bid to improve company behaviour. Tuesday 19 November 2019 3:53 pm The effort to target City pubs with posters, first reported by the Guardian, comes as part of a new campaign called #SpeakUp. whatsapp
Softbank has declined to identify the assets that will be sold or monetised, and said it plans to make the transactions over the next four quarters. Wednesday 25 March 2020 1:37 pm Softbank hits back at Moody’s following double downgrade Softbank has demanded that Moody’s remove all of its bond ratings after the ratings agency downgraded the conglomerate’s debt by two notches and said it was reviewing the tech investment giant for a further downgrade. Softbank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son (JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images) whatsapp Share The spat with Moody’s comes after it emerged that Softbank explored an attempt to take itself private over the weekend, as Son rushed to revive the group’s shares after they were hit by last week’s stock market rout. Softbank immediately hit back, accusing Moody’s of having based its decision on “its biased and mistaken views” and “excessively pessimistic assumptions”, and took the unusual step of asking Moody’s to withdraw its ratings. Softbank’s shares have rallied 55 per cent since it announced the buyback, which will see the group retire almost half its shares. However the conglomgerate’s ability to engineer the sale of part of a portfolio that includes a substantial stake in Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is under scrutiny as the coronavirus outbreak rattles markets. Sign up to City A.M.’s Midday Update newsletter, delivered to your inbox every lunchtime It comes two days after Softbank said it would raise as much as $41bn through asset sales to fund its biggest ever buyback, after investors sold shares due to concern over high leverage and souring bets on unproven startups via its $100bn Vision Fund. whatsapp Moody’s cited Softbank’s “aggressive financial policy” as contributing to its decision to downgrade the group, founded and run by Masayoshi Son, from a Ba1 to a Ba3 rating. The agency said the value of Softbank’s sprawling portfolio would be hit if it sold off lucrative holdings in Alibaba and telecoms firm Sprint in the current market environment. “Asset sales will be challenging in the current financial market downturn, with valuations falling and a flight to quality,” said Moody’s analyst Motoki Yanase. Softbank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son (JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images) Also Read: Softbank hits back at Moody’s following double downgrade Softbank eventually decided to move ahead with the asset sale to pay down more of its debt and fund the increased share buyback, the paper reported. “Softbank believes that Moody’s ratings action is based on excessively pessimistic assumptions regarding the market environment and misunderstanding and speculation that Softbank will quickly liquidate assets without any thorough consideration and without making improvements to its financial condition,” the group said. The downgrade may increase borrowing costs for Softbank, which has a total of $55bn net debt (£46bn). The corporation said the rating “will cause substantial misunderstanding among investors… and result in significant confusion for issuers”. Son held talks with investors including Elliott Management, the activist investor that holds a $2.5bn stake in the group, and Abu Dhabi sovereign investment vehicle Mubadala, according to the Financial Times. Anna Menin Softbank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son (JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images) Also Read: Softbank hits back at Moody’s following double downgrade Show Comments ▼ Tags: SoftBank
Biden yesterday insisted federal officials “will escort [Trump] from the White House with great dispatch” if he refuses to concede. Though a final result is unlikely to be declared until next year, markets have celebrated the assumption that the Senate race is within reach of the GOP, after the party won key races in Iowa, Alabama and South Carolina. Market outlook Poppy Wood “The sterling is trading higher against the dollar today, but that is chiefly due to the dollar index’s weakness. The Sterling-dollar pair has crossed the level of 1.30, currently trading at 1.31 and any improvement in the Brexit negotiations is likely to positively influence the currency.” Markets greet Biden presidency with sigh of relief whatsapp Global stocks rose to a record high this morning as investor optimism over Biden’s victory helped equities extend last week’s gains. “In terms of Brexit, the trade deal talks continue in London with both sides… trying to clear most of the sticking points,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade. Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 gained as much as 1.62 per cent in the first half hour of trading, rising to 6,005.78. The midcap FTSE 250 rose 1.71 per cent to 18,223.88. Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDaily FunnyFemale Athlete Fails You Can’t Look Away FromDaily FunnyUndoNoteableyJulia Robert’s Daughter Turns 16 And Looks Just Like Her MomNoteableyUndobonvoyaged.comThese Celebs Are Complete Jerks In Real Life.bonvoyaged.comUndoJustPerfact USAMan Decides to File for Divorce After Taking a Closer Look at This Photo! 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Hence, they are continuing to outperform the broader market.” “The overall sentiment washing through markets is one of relief that a US President has been declared, though there are sure to be lengthy legal challenges ahead.” A spokesperson for the Prime Minister last week admitted Johnson has never met Biden. But analysts have insisted Trump’s refusal to accept the result has had no effect on the joyous moods of markets. In September, Biden tweeted: “Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the [Good Friday] Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.” Near-term market concerns for a Biden presidency will likely be over the prospects for a “lame duck” fiscal package, Trump’s legal quibbles, and who will get posts in the Biden administration to deal with the pandemic, said Paul Donovan, economist at UBS. “While the control of the US Senate is still to be determined, markets are reacting as if Republicans will continue to hold this part of Congress,” said Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM. “If this is true, taxes are likely to remain at current low levels and interest rates will stay near zero for a long time. Brexit Meanwhile, long-term market concerns will be “environmental policy (including foreign leaders rushing to hug a tree to win favor with the incoming administration) and rising polarisation and prejudice, which risks damaging US growth,” said Donovan. Johnson’s Brexit legislation is expected to suffer a heavy defeat in the House of Lords this afternoon, risking an early disagreement with Biden and potentially souring the first phone call between the two leaders. Markets have baulked at the fact that Biden may struggle to push a big coronavirus-related fiscal stimulus package through Congress. Whilst a rescue package is still possible, the unlikelihood of a larger package has amped up pressure on the Federal Reserve to act, meaning markets will be following stimulus talks extremely closely across the lame duck period between now and Biden’s inauguration in January. Also Read: Markets greet Biden presidency with sigh of relief In a last-ditch effort to plump his presidential feathers, Trump last Tuesday confirmed the US had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Biden has said the US’ re-entry will be one of his first priorities as President. The flip from red to blue has been greeted as “an end to four years of predictability”, after a tumultuous Trump presidency culminated in nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and the highest coronavirus death toll in the world. Also Read: Markets greet Biden presidency with sigh of relief “An incoming Biden administration is certainly not going to offer an easy path to a trade deal between the UK and the US and could even determine the shape of relations between Britain and the EU,” said Streeter. “Biden has already expressed disapproval of proposals for the UK to potentially break international law on certain aspects of the withdrawal agreement, which is likely to concentrate minds at Number 10.” MSCI’s All-Country World Index rose as much as 0.5 per cent, surpassing an intra-day high set on 3 September. whatsapp Tags: Donald Trump Joe Biden US Election 2020 US Presidential Election 2020 Joe Biden on Saturday was elected the 46th President of the United states after winning the major battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Nevada, booting incumbent Donald Trump out of the White House. But securing a US-UK trade deal after Britain formally leaves the EU on 1 January is far lower down on the Democrat’s to-do list, which has sparked relative unease among UK investors. Show Comments ▼ “Stocks in Asia continued an exuberant rally, on hopes a Biden Presidency would thaw trade relations, and that appears to have had a knock on effect on the FTSE 100 which has seen a post-election bounce this morning,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. Markets have celebrated a return to political normality after a five-day vote count in the US presidential election finally yielded a result over the weekend. Share Monday 9 November 2020 9:23 am More From Our Partners Supermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comWhy people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxesnypost.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her pleasnypost.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.org Trump’s grump And while the election result bore no fruit for the Republican, hope remains for the Republican party in the form of the US Senate. Trump has refused to accept the result of the election, and has claimed an outpouring of mail-in ballots in favour of his Democrat rival is proof of wide scale “electoral fraud”.
Business | Economy | Local Government | SouthcentralAnchorage Assembly weighs options for $1.9B Port of Alaska projectMarch 19, 2019 by Kirsten Swann, Alaska Public Media Share:The Port of Alaska. (Photo by Eric Keto/Alaska Public Media)Anchorage Assembly members are considering whether to spend $100,000 to hire an independent analyst to monitor an ongoing modernization project at the Port of Alaska.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/03/PortTariffs031919.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The entire project is estimated to cost around $1.9 billion. Assemblyman Chris Constant, co-chair of the Assembly Enterprise and Utility Oversight Committee, said the shock of the latest cost estimate led to a moment of clarity: Now, he said, lawmakers hoped an independent analysis could help assess their options moving forward.“Our intent at this point is to look really closely at all of those parts, determine what’s really essential for moving forward, then come up with some rational cost analysis to to figure out what we’re going to build, who’s going to pay for it and when it’s going to happen,” Constant said.Paying for repairs at the Port of Alaska — officially known as the Port of Anchorage until 2017 — could involve a combination of sources. Lawmakers and port officials say funding its renovation could include local, state and federal funds. Port customers could face steep tariff increases.On March 15, Enterprise and Utility Oversight Committee members met with local business representatives to learn more about how those increases could ripple throughout the state’s economy. Representatives for shipping companies and fuel distributors said increased tariffs would impact everything from air cargo traffic to grocery prices.Ryan Zins of Alaska Basic Industries told Assembly members how increased tariffs could raise costs for construction projects around the state. His company, which imports cement and other building materials, operates out of the port’s aging cement terminal. Zins said he knows it needs to be fixed. But how much of the cost could the community afford?“That’s the hard thing, is they ask, ‘What is the amount of tariff that you can absorb?’ Well the answer to that is zero. I mean, we’re in a fourth-year recession,’” Zins said. “But we understand something has to be done. So before we get into that discussion, how much is this project truly going to cost?”That’s the question some Assembly members are now hoping to answer. Before moving forward with hundreds of millions of dollars in construction work, the Assembly plans to vote Tuesday night on a resolution to spend $100,000 on a third-party analyst to take another hard look at the project.“If you take a step forward, we may be stuck,” Constant said. “So before we take that step we’re going to make damn sure we know what we’re doing.”According to the Port of Alaska website, the facility handles goods for an estimated 85 percent of populated areas in Alaska, as well as vital jet fuel for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.Share this story:
IATA has increased its drive to get the air cargo industry to digitise, but has warned that business models need to change to incorporate data.“We are at a crossroads,” said Ariaen Zimmerman, head of Cargo iQ. “We can no longer wander; we need digitisation.“But there is a lack of business model. We are not capable of transferring it properly into a digital world,” he said yesterday at an IATA webinar on the future for air cargo.Henk Mulder, head of digital cargo for IATA, pointed out that airlines had recently proven how adaptable they could be – “a very positive sign”. © Suwanb By Alex Lennane 17/06/2020 But, he added: “There is still reliance on the physical presence of documents,” noting that paper is now a biosafety hazard.Key to any change, he said, was the realisation that the industry should move away from documents – even digitised ones.“The focus must shift from documents to data. There are good reasons for resistance, but they are not good enough.“The tech infrastructure is there, the technology part is ready. And if you move to data you can draw intelligence from that data, and automate.”In a sign that air cargo is beginning to look outside its own silo, Mr Mulder added that “digitisation must be in all modes, and we have to look to work with all modes as well as national authorities”.IATA recently helped the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) with advice as it tries to push the containership industry to digitise.“It would be crazy not to seek IATA’s advice, given the experience they’ve had,” said its chief executive, Thomas Bagge, last month.Digitisation should not mean service standardisation, though, warned Mr Mulder, noting that one potential risk was “vendor lock-in and standards lock-in”.Mr Zimmerman added: “Customers have different service needs and options. There are different ways of offering services, and different service commitments.”He pointed out that some customers would need a ‘must go now’ service at any cost, while others might have a week to play with. He pointed out that some customers would book early, in case there was a problem – ie, they did not trust the quality of the product.“We need to address the distribution model, and we need flexible digitisation that mirrors the business model. Different companies do things in different ways. As an interdependent industry, we need to work together.”A brief survey of attendees showed that 40% were continuing current digitisation projects as planned, despite Covid-19. Although 21% had deferred projects, 14% had deferred but were now expecting to restart.Some 43% said their short-term focus would be on operational process efficiency, while 12% were focusing on data projects and 22% on increased automation.
Keywords No-contest settlementsCompanies Ontario Securities Commission Ernst & Young LLP (EY) likely paid more in its no-contest settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) than if it would have by going through a contested hearing, an OSC panel says in its reasons for that decision On Monday, the OSC published a transcript of the oral reasons given for approving the commission’s first-ever enforcement settlement that did not involve admissions of wrongdoing. In that case, audit firm EY agreed to pay $8 million to settle the allegations that its audits of Sino-Forest Corp. and Zungui Haixi Corp. fell short of Canadian auditing standards, and did not exhibit sufficient professional skepticism. (See Ernst & Young to pay $8 million to settle with OSC, investmentexecutive.com, September 30, 2014.) In its reasons, the OSC panel says that the $8 million likely exceeds any penalty or penalties that could have been imposed on E&Y under securities law after contested hearings in these matters. “The terms of this settlement are unprecedented in Canada in these circumstances and the voluntary payment in this matter is consistent with the level of payments imposed by the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commisison (SEC)] in some similar matters,” it says. The panel also notes that the voluntary payment of $8 million, along with the other terms of settlement, “will send a very clear message that the commission expects that auditors of reporting issuers will fully comply with auditing standards and will exercise an appropriate level of scrutiny, professional skepticism and diligence in the performance of their audits. The settlement also demonstrates that staff will not hesitate to initiate proceedings against an auditor where appropriate audit standards have not been met.” “An auditor plays a crucial gatekeeper role in ensuring the integrity of the financial information and statements upon which investors rely. Accordingly, auditors play a vital role in the effective functioning of our capital markets. That is why the commission views Ernst & Young’s failures in these matters as so serious,” it says. For the OSC, the panel also points out that the settlement “avoids two complex, lengthy and expensive hearings”; which, it says, would have involved multiple expert witnesses and at least 100 hearing days. “There is significant uncertainty and substantial risks to both sides as to the potential outcomes of those hearings. The settlement avoids those uncertainties and risks and brings these proceedings to an appropriate conclusion,” it says. The panel also spells out that this case is appropriate for the OSC’s first no-contest settlement several reasons, including: that it includes detailed facts and conclusions, which provides a basis to assess the terms of settlement; the OSC does not allege that there was any dishonest conduct by the firm; it cooperated with the OSC, and self-reported certain issues; it has taken remedial action; and, that the firm has already paid an aggregate of $119 million to settle class action lawsuits. James Langton OSC approves no-contest settlement with IPC dealers Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitter OSC to consider no-contest settlement with IPC dealers ASC gives green light to no-contest settlements Related news
The suit alleges that both plaintiffs were terminated by IGFS without notice or payment in lieu after they complained about multiple changes to their compensation structure. Each plaintiff is seeking more than $5.5 million in damages.It is alleged that IGFS changed the terms of its Regional Director Assured Value Program in September 2014, and unilaterally changed its compensation structure for regional directors in May 2017 and again in May 2018 without giving adequate notice.Both plaintiffs saw their income drop by 20%–30% following each of the last two changes to their compensation, according to the claim.IGFS classifies regional directors as independent contractors who can be terminated at any time “with or without cause and with or without notice,” according to the claim.The plaintiffs argue this stipulation is “insufficient to rebut the common law presumption that reasonable notice shall be provided.” If they are found to be improperly characterized as independent contractors, they argue, the termination clause in their employment agreements is unenforceable.In an email to Investment Executive, a spokesperson for IGFS wrote: “We disagree with the position put forward by the plaintiffs and will be vigorously defending the action. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.” Canaccord reports record revenues, drops proposal to acquire RF Capital Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Related news andreypopov/123RF TD getting new head of private wealth, financial planning One in five Canadian investors plans to switch wealth providers: EY study Two former advisors are suing Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (IGFS), claiming they were wrongfully dismissed by the company after voicing concerns about changes to their compensation.According to a statement of claim filed by Koskie Minsky LLP, the plaintiffs, Ermos Erotocritou of Whitby, Ont., and Jamie Vermeeren of Abbotsford, B.C., were both hired as advisors by IGFS in 2000 and eventually promoted to regional directors. Greg Dalgetty Keywords Lawsuits, Advisors and the law, Asset management companies, Wealth management Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
RelatedOfficial Funeral for Neville Lewis Advertisements Official Funeral for Neville Lewis UncategorizedJanuary 5, 2007 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Former Cabinet Minister and Deputy Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, Neville Brice Lewis, who died on December 30 in Miami, Florida is to be accorded an official funeral by the Government.This announcement was made recently by the Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller. The official funeral service will be held at the Lacovia Anglican Church, Lacovia, St. Elizabeth on January 13, beginning at 11:00 a.m. A Planning Committee for the Official Funeral Service will be chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, and will include representatives of the family, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Dorothy Carter, who will represent the Jamaica Labour Party. Mr. Lewis served as Member of Parliament for North West St. Elizabeth from 1976-1993; Minister of Social Security from 1980-1983, and Minister of Local Government from 1983-1989. He was 76 years old at the time of his death. RelatedOfficial Funeral for Neville Lewis RelatedOfficial Funeral for Neville Lewis
RelatedFirefighters Ignite Flames of Learning Firefighters Ignite Flames of Learning Office of the Prime MinisterMarch 9, 2009 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Firefighters are known for their valiant efforts to save and rescue persons and property from the searing arms of fire. Those who have had the opportunity to witness them in action know the levels of bravery associated with the job. However, few are aware of another bold aspect of their undertakings. In one of their most recent initiatives, firefighters are not seeking to quench but ignite a different kind of flame – flames of learning.Under the supervision of Deputy Superintendent in charge of the Trelawny Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Dolphin Doeman, personnel stationed at the Falmouth branch has put in place various community outreach programmes. Chief among them is a well-needed Homework Center for students, which is operated from the Conference room at the Falmouth Fire Station.The 60 men and women assigned to the Falmouth Fire Station all play an integral role in the running of the Homework Center, which was started in September of 2008. The idea for center stemmed from the recognized need to maintain some form of interaction between the Firemen and the neighbouring communities and to assist the many students that live in and around Falmouth.The Falmouth Fire Station Homework Center, forms part of a new approach of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, being piloted by Deputy Commissioner, Neil Findlay.“The schools that were targeted (in the Falmouth area) were Falmouth All Age, and Hague Primary and Junior High, because they are in close proximity to the Falmouth Fire Station”, deputy Superintendent Doeman told JIS.He said that when the idea for the Homework Center was presented at Parent Teachers meetings at both schools, it was readily accepted. He noted that both the parents and the school community were equally enthusiastic about it.“And so on September 22nd, 2008 the center was opened with eleven students for the first day. This number has grown and we have as much as in excess of seventy students enrolled”, he stated.The popular programme is being run at no cost to the students and a prominent supermarket within Falmouth assists the Fire Brigade in providing refreshments for the students in the evenings.Explaining how the Homework Center is run, Deputy Superintendent Doeman pointed out that a registration process takes place wherein the students’ names; addresses; their parent’s names and contact numbers are recorded. “On a daily basis the center is manned by Fire Brigade personnel, who are in attendance there at all times while students are here”, he said.Pointing out that the homework that the students do at the center covers a wide range of subjects and research matters, Deputy Superintendent Doeman said that the Firemen have to draw on the knowledge of all their co-workers to adequately assist the students. He explained that the Falmouth Fire Station has enough personnel in place to ensure that someone is always supervising the Homework Center, even if there is an emergency call which requires response from that Fire Station.The Homework Center is opened after regular school hours, Mondays to Fridays from around 3:00 P.M. to about 5:30 P.M.When quizzed about the feedback from the Firemen with respect to their participation in assisting with the supervision of the Homework Center, Mr. Doeman was very emphatic in his response; “they are very enthused about it, the response has been positive, and they see it as a means of contributing to the communities, and also exposing the surrounding communities to the various aspects of our daily work”, he stated.He expressed the hope that the Homework Center will continue to operate for a long time.Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Dane Smith attached to the Falmouth Fire Station (one of the officers who assist with the daily operation of the Homework Center) believes the project is worthwhile, noting that it assists the Fire Brigade in reaching out to the communities with its programmes.“The best place to start is with the little children, so when they come in we can impart not only the Mathematics and the English that they need, but we can also teach them about fire safety measures. So therefore it is a two fold thing where-in we are helping them with there school work, but they are also helping us to spread the message of fire prevention”, he stated.Ms. Ann-Marie Smith, a parent whose eight year old son attends the Homework Center, had nothing but complimentary remarks for the Falmouth Firefighters and their efforts at running the Homework Center. She explained that the center is of great assistance not only to her son but also to her, as it not only prepares her son for school, but it helps to keep him occupied after regular school hours.“I sincerely hope that this programme can continue for a long time and will be promoted within the schools in the area, so that all the youngsters coming up can get an opportunity to benefit from it”, she stated.She said that the learning environment at the Homework Center is very comfortable; adding that her son is so influenced by the attention he is getting that he once told her that he wants to be a Fireman when he grows up.The Homework Centre in Falmouth is one of several being undertaken by the Jamaica Fire Brigade. Others have been established at the Trench Town and Rollington Town Fire Stations in Kingston. RelatedFirefighters Ignite Flames of Learning RelatedFirefighters Ignite Flames of Learning Advertisements