Working on Fire made me believe in myself
Leoni Rooy, who is a Training Officer based in Bloemfontein, joined the Working on Fire programme in April 2004 in Clanwilliam, a small town about 200km north of Cape Town.
She started off as a firefighter at the Clanwilliam Base and within months was nominated by her base manager to attend the Type 2 crew leader course in Tokai, Cape Town. After passing the course she was put on three months probation.
She completed her probation period and, after observing her work ethic over the next few months, her impressed base manager nominated her to attend the Type 1 crew leader course in Nelspruit at the Long Tom Pass, which she duly passed. Rooy only worked as a Type 1 crew leader for a few months before Fred Favard, the Training Manager, nominated her to become a training instructor. She then became the first female instructor in the WOF programme. She was sent to attend a course in Montana, USA, for three weeks with three others.
“After coming back from America I worked until November 2007 as an instructor before I was promoted to Regional Manager in the Western Cape, managing seven teams. I opened four more Western Cape bases that are still going strong,” says Rooy.
Rooy served as Regional Manager until December 2012, and then became a senior instructor with the role of training crew leaders, conducting induction and advanced classes for teams, and also Yellow Card and driver training. In January 2016 Rooy moved to Bloemfontein to start a job as a Training Officer in the Free State.
Rooy has completed various training courses which have set her apart as an valued employee. These courses include First Aid Level 1, 2 and 3, Advanced MS Excel, Advanced MS Word, Life Skills, Leadership, Personal Development, Health and Safety, Human Resource and Administration, Wildlife power saws, Basic and Advanced FireFighting, ICS logistics, Laces workshops and Human Factors on Fire line, and facilitator and assessor training.
“Through the WOF programme I was able to help my mother extend our home. As a single mother WOF enabled me to provide for my children. My eldest daughter completed matric last year and this year she is able to further her studies. I was able to buy myself a car and next year my goal is to further my studies,” says Rooy.
“If it was not for this programme I don’t think that I would have been able to do all of these things because where I come from, the unemployment rate is very high and the abuse of drugs is destroying the youth. I will forever be thankful and grateful for the WOF programme for entering my life at a time I needed it the most.
This programme picked me up when I was down and out and nobody wanted to give me a chance. It gave me wings to fly and made me believe in myself,” says Rooy.