Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire Empower in action

A group of 12 unemployed people have taken part in a special Firebreak which helped them prepare to get jobs.

The week long course, which took place at Hawkwell Fire station between February 10 and 14 saw participants undertake a series of challenging tasks including using the Service’s powerful hose reels, wearing specialist breathing apparatus, climbing ladders and rescuing people trapped in buildings and smoke logged rooms as instructors gave them special training to help them get back into employment.

The course was the first Fire Empower course which has been specially designed to teach them what they need to get jobs. The course was part of a £23,000 six-month project funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The participants were the first of 60 who will take part in the scheme which sees the Service working with Southend Council and community interest companies including SeeJobGroup, Comfy Saddle, Cook4Life, NHS Trainers and Legacy Leisure.

Donna Finch, Children, Young People and Safeguarding Manager, said: “We have created a number of different Firebreaks each with their own learning outcomes and each funded by different partner agencies.

“This was the Fire Empower course and feedback from all concerned confirm that it was a real success. We now look forward to welcoming the next group onto the course.”

Southend Council deputy leader John Lamb said: “This is an immensely positive project to help people who have long struggled to find work overcome some of their hurdles and face the future with confidence.”

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