East Leeds Young Fire Fighters
During the summer two workshops at the rear of Gipton Fire Station
were refurbished to create a new training centre for the Young Fire Fighters Schools Programme. Funding for the refurbishment was secured
through the Leeds City Council - East Area Management, East North East
Homes Leeds and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.Year 10 students from David Young Community Academy, Temple Moor
High School and John Smeaton Community College started their two year
Level II BTEC in ‘Fire and Rescue Service in the Community’ in
September this year. During the two years they will develop a wide
range of knowledge and skills and engage in a variety of youth
initiatives within the Fire and Rescue Sector.There are twenty five subject areas covering such things as Health
and Safety, Community Fire Safety, Effective Communication and
Citizenship and Personal Responsibility. ‘Discipline’ and ‘Respect’
form the core of the overall course.Martin Hoole (Young Fire Fighters Coordinator – West Yorkshire Fire
and Rescue Service) says “ It is only with the development of multi
agency partnerships that schemes like this one can succeed and
contribute to a positive outcome for the benefit of all the community.
Including Castleford High, Featherstone Technology College And Knottingley High, more than fifty pupils from secondary schools across the district had joined the Young Firefighters initiative, which started at Castleford fire station in September.The groups of girls and boys aged 14 and 15 are taught by Knottingley firefighter Lee Jones in 3 hour weekly sessions.25-year-old Lee said: "the young people learn first aid, how to use hoses, ladders and other equipment as well as vital rescue techniques and chemical theory. We even have a special smoke room where they can take part in house fire reconstruction sessions.He also said: "They completed a work book which covers all aspects of firefighting – but of course there is nothing dangerous."The fire authority and the schools taking part in the scheme have jointly funded it and they also aims to increase community involvement among youngsters.He added: "everyone who takes part in the scheme has so much energy, they are really getting into it now and it's great to see them working in teams together as well as being part of the community when they go out."A BTEC National Diploma in basic firefighting skills will be received by pupils who complete the 2-year course and it will count towards college entry points and when they are older it could increase their chances of working in public services.He added: "some of them say they will apply to the fire brigade when they are older, because they are enjoying the course so much, which is great. I wish there had been calls like this around when I was younger."
EXPANSION OF YOUNG FIREFIGHTERS SCHEME
West Yorkshire’s hugely successful Young Firefighters scheme is expanding to cope with demand. The scheme began in Wakefield as a way of involving young people in the work of the fire and rescue service. It proved so popular that there are now 29 courses running at
eight fire stations catering for 348 students. In addition, several short courses have been run over the past year for 104 youngsters.
Successful completion of a two-year course which involves practical lessons in skills such as using breathing apparatus, using pumping appliances and fire safety awareness, leads to a BTEC Level Two qualification. The scheme has won widespread recognition from local education authorities and other fire and rescue services across the UK. “This is a flagship project currently managed by just one person but we need to maintain the high quality of training on offer as well as meet demand so we must invest in extra equipment and back-up support,” explained Councillor Peter Harrand, who chairs the fire authority’s Finance and Resources Committee. Plans are already in the pipeline for more student fire kit, firefighting equipment and minor classroom adaptations. Revenue costs are met by contributions from participating schools. “Experience has proved that this course not only benefits young people who relish a practical element in the curriculum but it also benefits the fire service by forging bonds with individual schools and the wider community,” said Councillor Harrand.
• Participating fire stations: Wakefield : Castleford : Ossett : Dewsbury : Fairweather Green : Gipton : Rothwell : Halifax.
For further information contact Stephen Hardy 01274 655717