Thursday, 23 April 2015

Scottish Motorsport Marshal Training Action Group

Clubs promoting motorsport events in Scotland identified some time ago that action was needed to improve recruitment, retention and training of marshals.  SACC Club representatives have heard on several occasions about the Marshalling initiative to be set up in Scotland.

But the mechanics of a workable proposal were not that easy ....
whether from the point of view of getting access to a common database, the way in which it would operate, manually or driven by clever software, or the type of rewards programme which could be offered. To be quite honest, the initiative became bogged down to the point where it had to be revisited and there will be firm news on it soon.

In the meantime, the world of rallying and indeed motor sport in general changed due to the fatalities on the 2013 Snowman Rally and in particular, the 2014 Jim Clark Rally.  Like it or not, something had to be done or else the ‘authorities’, whichever they might be, would take a dim view of a sport which was not prepared or capable of sorting itself out.

In February, the Scottish Government seconded Jacqueline Campbell to the MSA in order to make sure that the recommendations of the Motorsport Event Safety Review were carried through and become standard procedure.  As a result of this, there is an absolute need to get real with where we are all going on the linked matters of marshal recruitment (across all disciplines, but with the current emphasis on rallying), retention, training and reward.

We are coming to you, the member clubs of the Association, to set out a very clear message.  You need to take marshal training seriously, soon and for the future.  Last week, a meeting took place of a small core of people who wish to see this happen and need your support to make sure that it is spread throughout the sport.  For now, this is being called the Training Action Group and will be kept tight to operate efficiently.  What has been seen up to now as a ‘nice thing, but not for us’, has to be embraced by all clubs which need or supply marshals for their or others’ events.

What has been done.

  • An MSA course for new Instructors takes place later this month, which will almost double the number of people available in Scotland and that should help enormously. 
  • The Association has a Training Coordinator who will be responsible for collating and promoting training in any discipline in different locations across the country.  
  • The administration of training will be carried out by Scottish Motorsport Marshals Club with valuable shared input from others, all of whom know that this is vital to improving and moving forward the standards in our sport.

What clubs need to do now.

  • We need a link into as many clubs as we can, by somebody taking on the role of what could be called a training champion within each club. Some active clubs already are passionate about training; this is great and needs to be spread wider.  
  • Their role is to be a link with the SACC Training Co-ordinator helping to identify local recruitment and training needs and also promoting to their club when training events are being put on by other clubs.  
  • Clubs should think about their training needs – but not just before an event takes place – and come to us to tell us what is required.
  • Clubs should be prepared to support training sessions which will be set up independently.  These will be in parts of the country to suit you as there is no point in expecting volunteers to travel great distances if something can be set up locally.  
  • Much as we can detest the word, we need to be pro-active if we are going to succeed.

What this will achieve.

There is a single chance to get this right and we should all know that all eyes are on Scotland.  What we do here might not be revolutionary, but it will be of the best quality and could prove to be a model for the rest of the country.

There is no place for divisions in this process, we all have to work together.  The training itself will be given by the team of MSA accredited Instructors and Lead Trainers, as it must be.  We hope also that there is scope for online training of the fundamentals, which will help newcomers to the sport find their feet and allow them to take part sooner, but more of that later as it is made known to us.

Please consider this seriously, consider how your club can help, do find yourselves a club training champion and make their name known to us.  This contact is vital for us to have a two way process.

We are looking at the training events which have been approved by the MSA for this year and intend to add to these, preparing and maintaining a calendar of marshal training activity as we move forward.