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Young firefighters pass course aimed at giving them skills for life


West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Youth Intervention Team were incredibly proud to support 30 ‘young firefighters’ at their pass out parade at Wakefield Fire Station on Thursday evening (May 17).

The young people, aged 15 and 16-years-old, have worked hard for two years to achieve a Level 2 BTEC Certificate in Fire Safety in the Community. Local schools select young people who will benefit from developing skills in our challenging environment by learning about aspects of the fire service and the community.

The groups get put through their paces in a range of practical scenarios which develop essential life skills such as team work, communication skills and resilience. All the young people really thrive by learning in a different setting and the programme also helps them to focus more when they are back in the school environment.

The young people demonstrated their achievements in a variety of skills, presenting to the community and family members what they had learned. Each school group also performed complex drill sequences in mock-up situations where they rescued ‘casualties’ from different scenarios. To close the evening Chief Fire Officer John Roberts presented each young person with a certificate of achievement.

We were really pleased to welcome over 100 guests to the station to support the pass out parade. Dave Walton, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, commented on the incredible confidence of the young people in their ability to present their learning to such a large audience.

He said: “It’s all too easy to underestimate the amount of dedication and hard work that goes into achieving this award when you see how effortlessly the skills are demonstrated on occasions like these. I’m really proud of all the young people involved and hope that their work with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service inspires them to be fabulous in everything that they do.”

Parents of many of the young people also said what difference the course had made to their child both in school and in their home life. The Youth Intervention Team is made up of specialist Youth Intervention Trainers and a pool of over 40 active firefighters who instruct the groups.

Jo Hardy, Youth Intervention Team Manager, said: “We were all extremely proud of the achievements of the young people, especially the professional standard that they demonstrated. We wish them the best of luck and we will miss them – Wakefield and Castleford station will a lot quieter next week!”

Many of the young people have been inspired to progress onto Public Uniformed Services courses at college and others plan to take the confidence and communication skills they have developed to other careers.

The Young Firefighters Programme is one of many interventions delivered by the Youth Intervention Team at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The BTEC programme is a substantial 2 year course with an excellent qualification which helps the young people progress. The Youth Intervention Team also offer a range of other programmes to groups ranging from 8 years old to 25-years-old with the aim of helping those most in need of skill development or behaviour change.

The team find that the experience of children and young people on the programmes is a catalyst for change and as a result young people lead safer lives.