devonsomersetDevon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service report on the success of their Phoenix programme designed to reduce fire risk and fire related crime within local communities by working with young people identified to be ‘at risk’ between the ages of 15 and 18 years.

A ‘Passing out Parade’ took place on Friday 1 March 2013 at Ilfracombe Fire station, for young adults aged 18 – 24 years who have just completed the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Phoenix course for Job Centre Plus Adults.

The ‘Passing out Parade’ is the culmination of a seven day programme organised by the fire service in partnership with Barnstaple Jobcentre Plus and the ‘One Ilfracombe’ neighbourhood community budget. This is about giving people more power over their local services and budgets in a neighbourhood and aligning these with all the other resources that the local community can bring.

groupjobstartTo build on this the Phoenix course has been adapted from the original fire service-run Phoenix course for 14-17 year olds to help build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, improve communication skills and increase motivation. Jobseekers are treated as trainee firefighters and issued with ‘work wear' uniform and firefighting uniform, on loan, to use during the course all of which will give them valuable work experience.

Alan Kyle, from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We are really proud to have hosted the course here in Ilfracombe and to have the Vice Chair of North Devon Council, Councillor Geoff Fowler and Janet Sinclair Partnership Manager at Job Centre Plus on hand to present the ‘certificates of achievements’ to the students.This particular course is specifically designed in conjunction with ‘Job Centre Plus’ sector work based academy providing young adults with an opportunity to enhance employment prospects learning more about themselves and where they can develop to realise their full potential. In addition the students attend British Red Cross first aid training and an ICT training programme all of which will enhance their employment profile.

We work closely with the young adults using fire service activities as an overview, promoting the services core values, which are:
· Communication and Interpersonal Skills
· Motivation and Commitment
· Integrity and Personal Strength
· Appearance and Bearing
· Team Membership
·Attention to Detail

jobstarttowerWe provide all logistical support, venues, equipment, catering and transport for the duration of our work with them. We can improve the minds and attitudes of our young adults helping them to understand the importance of seeking full time employment. We promote fire service values such as reducing anti-social behaviour within local communities, raising fire safety awareness and road traffic reduction advice.

The Phoenix Course programme has also adopted a National Qualification called ‘ASDAN’ reports Alan Kyle, Phoenix co-ordinator from Central Command. ASDAN is established as a registered charity for “The advancement of education, by providing opportunities for all learners to develop their personal and social attributes and levels of achievement through ASDAN awards and resources, and the relief of poverty, where poverty inhibits such opportunities for learners.”

Alan added: "We use the fire service as a platform and the students gather evidence on a host of topics such as teamwork, operational use of equipment and fire safety. They record their findings which are sent off for verification."

For more information on our Phoenix projects please visit www.dsfire.gov.uk/YoungPeople/Phoenix/