Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire Empower - A springboard to success

A special Firebreak course has had fantastic results helping 79 unemployed people from Essex last year alone.

Since Fire Empower was launched in April 2014, 115 people have taken part in the course. Dozens have used the course as a spring board to get their lives back on track.

The five-day course, which is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions, aims to improve participant’s job prospects by boosting their confidence and teaching them vital life skills through a series of challenging tasks.

Based at Clacton, Colchester and Dovercourt fire stations, the course uses the discipline and training practiced by firefighters to show those taking part just how much they are capable of.

During the week, participants use powerful hose reels, wearing specialist breathing apparatus, climbing ladders and taking part in mock rescues.

After passing out at a special ceremony in front of proud friends and family, the students receive additional training over five weeks to help them get back into employment including interview and CV preparation.

Donna Finch, ECFRS Community Development and Safeguarding Manager, said: “Firebreak Empower has been a tremendous success. Since designing the course, we have helped 115 unemployed people to learn vital life skills to help boost their work prospects.

“Each course gives people the motivation and confidence to go out into their communities and find employment. We concentrate on their abilities and encourage them to reach their full potential.

“We have a close working relationship with the Department for Work and Pensions and we look forward to helping transform more peoples’ lives in the future.”

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