Nine teens spent a week at a fire station with professional firefighters to learn about teamwork and gain confidence.
The pupils from Worthing’s Oak Grove College, which provides special education for students with learning difficulties, completed a FireBreak course with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at Shoreham Fire station.
At an award ceremony on Friday, September 16 they performed fire service hose and ladder drills and demonstrated other new skills they had picked up in front of teachers and family members.
Among the students taking part were Alex Brown from Brighton, Cody Piper from Lancing, Daniel Langmaid from Goring, Kyle Hobson from Shoreham, Charlotte Alford from Sompting, Oliver Zammit from Worthing, Stephanie Armston from Arundel and Zhane Hartley from Lancing.
FireBreak is a youth programme run by West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in partnership with County Council colleagues from Youth Services.
Aimed at young people aged between 12 and 14, it encourages students to become positive role models within their communities.
Students attend a fire station over five consecutive days, working alongside uniformed firefighters on a structured programme of events that combine classroom-based activities and practical training to promote teamwork, social awareness, self-discipline and to help reduce negative influences.
Tony Hills, lead instructor of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “It’s been great to see how the students have all gained confidence and developed completely new skills as the week has progressed.
“We expect and demand quite a lot from the students that come on a FireBreak course and this group has certainly lived up to those expectations.
“We’ve been able to build a great rapport with them and we hope that they will use this course as a springboard for success in all areas of their lives.”
Certificates of achievement were presented by Lee Neale, Acting Executive Director for Communities & Public Protection and Chief Fire Officer.
Lee said: “A FireBreak graduation is always an inspirational event to be part of.
“We believe that making a positive difference to the lives of young people has huge benefits, not just for the young people themselves, but for their families, their schools and the communities they live in.
“We are very proud of these students as they have demonstrated great communication skills and the ability to trust one another and to work together as part of a team.”
Oak Grove is a community generic special college maintained by West Sussex County Council, which provides special education for students with learning difficulties from Year 7 to Year 14.
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