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Serco expands team and brings international fire and rescue services expertise to Middle East

Published: 8 Nov 2021

Serco has won awards across the globe for our International Fire Training Centre. We bring best practice, global standards and new techniques to fire and rescue services in the Middle East. Neil Crosby has recently joined us from the UK team, so we caught up with him to find out a bit more about his background and how having him on the ground here in the UAE will benefit our clients and partners.

Name and title: Neil Crosby, Senior Fire and Rescue Services Instructor

Tell us a bit about your career background.

I started working within the aviation sector in 1987, at Liverpool Airport as an air traffic control assistant.  The close working relationship between the airport and fire and rescue service allowed me to gain valuable and essential knowledge of how the two services are integrated.  In 1995 I was fortunate to be able to join Liverpool Airport fire and rescue service and after many years, I was able to commit myself to a career in which I felt completely involved. I was sure that through dedication and commitment I would most certainly be successful. My dedication proved effective and through timely promotion, I was able move through the management structure and become,  I believe, an effective and valued member of the emergency service.

I became heavily involved in external training and conducted close proactive training with outside agencies. I was also a member Her Majesties Coast Guard Search and Rescue Service, once again heavily involved with training and emergency response. I then became involved with service development and attended senior management meetings with prominent senior officers as Sir Alan Massey. In 2013, I moved over  to the Fire Service College Moreton-in-Marsh as an associate tutor involved in overseas aviation training delivery, in Kuwait. When I returned, I continued training in a wide and varied span of service trainings before joining the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), which is where I was until October of 2021. During this period, I delivered training on behalf of IFTC and Serco in locations such as Ireland, Finland, Dubai, Cayman Islands and for a vast array of UK and overseas delegates attending the fire service college. This was, without doubt, the most engaging and beneficial period within my career to date. My employment within Serco has given my career structure and many extraordinary and valuable opportunities to grow and to develop into a professional and renowned member of a worldwide training and development service. 

What will your role in the UAE involve?

As a senior fire and rescue service instructor for Serco Middle East, I will be responsible for conducting training delivery to various clients including major international airports. I hope to transfer the knowledge I have gained internationally and share best practice here in the Middle East.

I will provide professional and skilled training to delegates here in the UAE, from aviation and industrial facilities and to broaden the horizon for emergency service knowledge and practical and theoretical appreciation towards their roles during emergency activities or incidents.

In addition, I will establish firm relationships with clients and to better understand them and their fire safety training needs.

I will also help further our Emiratisation initiatives by bringing international best practice and upskilling national talent.  

What advice would you give to young Emiratis considering a career in FRS?

My advice would be to become committed to the role if you are fortunate enough to be selected.

You will be representing not only the emergency service, but your nation. Jobs within fire and rescue service is not only an employment but a passion and a career with exciting and vibrant opportunities. When you become a part of FRS, you are trusted to protect the people of your country. That is a big responsibility, one not to be taken lightly and you will have to work hard. What I will say is it is worth it and the respect shown to those in the fire service world wide is incredible.

What’s next for FRS?

We will see many more nationals in this sector in the coming years. Training and developing them with the right skills will be key to the success of this process.  Industrial and commercial engineering is proving that safety standards are much improved compared to previous years, and with this comes the limitation of incidents and events where life and property are at risk.

The UAE’s emergency services are considering equipment and facilities in line with the world’s strategy in relation to emergency response and firefighting tactics. As the world slowly returns to a level of considered normality, it must be prepared to meet the ever-growing number of airline passengers and residents working and living in the UAE. Incident command and the functionality between all services should be considered and the service must learn from past events in order to move forward as potential risk may increase. Potential outsourcing for training, service provision or consultative review should be considered to take into account financial constraints or burdens placed upon services post-Covid.

Serco can provide fire and rescue consultancy, training and operations, with tailor-made programmes and packages. I look forward to supporting our clients in these areas.