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Developing our People

Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS)

IPDS is a role based development structure for the Fire Service.  It gives a structured path for every member of staff at every level.  It provides for shared responsibilities in the development that meets real needs for real situations.  It is not just about training it is about continuous development.  It works for everyone at every level. It encourages and supports both personal and organisational development.

IPDS will allow our personnel to develop their career, it offers a structured, logical path that allows them to achieve their aims.  If they prefer to develop their skills at their current level, it gives them the opportunity to continually update them so that they can perform  at their best all of the time.  They will acquire skills, attain competency in those skills, maintain the level of competency and develop and acquire new skills.
It will be used by everyone irrespective of rank or role. Different roles require different skills so everyone’s development will differ from on role to another.  IPDS will provide professional skills and competencies for your individual role.  Each role is explained in more detail in the Helix diagram (below).

This development will be set against the national standards for that job/role.  Some people will want to develop to be better able to carry out their role, whereas others may wish to progress to the next role or specialist role.

Because IPDS has been developed as a national benchmark that matches levels of competence to NVQ levels, it can be used for Skill Gap Analysis, awards and assessments of any member of staff in any location.  For the first time, it makes the skills of all staff truly transferable.

Please click on the link to see a copy of the Helix Diagram

The Helix Diagram shows the biggest advantage of IPDS: that it gives the choice of enhancing and maintaining the skills at their current level or working to gain the skills for the next stage in their career.

If they wish to develop their career and move onto the next stage, it offers a structured, logical path that allows them to achieve your aims.  If they prefer to develop their skills at their current level, it gives them the opportunity to continually update them so that they perform at their best all of the time.

Based on National Occupational Standards (NOS), the modules in IPDS have been aligned with National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s) so that everyone is benchmarked to the same skill level. The NOS have defined the following roles: Firefighter, Control Operator, Crew Manager, Watch Manager, Station Manager, Group Manager, Area Manager and Brigade Manager.


Everyone who starts with the service will receive with help, support and guidance a structured development programme (a role map). Individual strengths, weaknesses and current skill level will be identified.  They will be working to standards that are clear and relate directly to their role.  The formal procedure for discovering what is needed for an individual is called a Skills Gap Analysis.

Step 1 – Identify the role:

IPDS has analysed every role from Firefighter through to Brigade Manager, and has mapped out specific areas which individuals need to be skilled to fulfil the role effectively.

Step 2  – Assess the required competences:

This involves deciding which skills an individual should have to meet their role.  IPDS has formalised these competencies in the form of rolemaps.

Step  3 – Assess the candidate’s current skills:

This involves looking at the current skills of any given individual and see how they match up to the skills that are required for any person in that role.  This is made easier through the use of Evaluation Checklists based on National Occupational Standards (NOS).

Step 4  – Determine the skills gap:

This involves looking at the skills identified in step 3 to determine where there are any gaps in the skills of the individual.  Element Analysis Sheets will assess any gaps in skills whether the individual is maintaining their skills and knowledge in order to continue in their current role or wishes to enhance their skills and knowledge in order to proceed to the next level.

Step 5 – Develop an appropriate learning programme:

The last step of the Skills Gap Analysis involves giving individuals specific and relevant training in the area where weakness has been identified and where skills need to be updated.  All the modules the individual needs to be trained in will be set out in a structured development programme for them.

Rolemaps show the relevant modules and role titles in which individuals need to be skilled.  They show you how you can achieve competency for the role you are in.

IPDS will be progressively introduced role by role to ensure smooth transition from one method of development to another.

To view development modules and the national standards for all roles please click here