Posted: Sun 20th Nov 2022

Flintshire high school students participate in fire service’s personal development project

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Nov 20th, 2022

A group of students took part in an innovative project that challenges existing attitudes and promotes independent thinking to help develop personal skills and build confidence.

Ten students from Ysgol Treffynnon, one from year 10 and nine from year 9, attended a four day course as part of the Phoenix Project, which is run by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The initiative is designed for young people between the ages of 13 and 17 with a focus on issues such as low self-esteem to lower level behavioural concerns.  

These areas are explored through teamwork exercises, discovering new physical and mental limits and wider potentials, and understanding the benefits of discipline, as well as educating young people about the role of the fire service. 

It is hoped that this will help participants to become more motivated and positive about themselves, and more fulfilled citizens within their community. 

Taking place at Flint Fire Station, and one day at Mold Fire Station, the students participated in fire service activities including hose running drills, fighting fires, and search and rescue.

They also learned valuable life skills such as first aid, risk management, and fire safety, all within a teamworking environment.

The students discovered how they coped under pressure as part of a team, and searching in an unfamiliar environment with their senses reduced, as well as dealing with demanding tasks such as working with a ladder and firefighting drills. 

Throughout the course, the students were stretched physically and mentally to see what they could achieve, all while being supported by a dedicated team, specially trained to work safely with young people.

Ryan McCabe said; “I am proud of myself. I really enjoyed the whole thing, including climbing up the tower even though I have a fear of heights, I overcame my fears.”

April Miller-Lloyd said: “It was great fun. I enjoyed setting up and putting up the ladders and I liked the search and rescue drills. I am glad I was chosen to go.”

Brian Drawbridge, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, organised the course.  He said: “It was great to see the students participate in all the activities and we saw some growth in confidence, and in how they listened to instructions.

“The course concluded with a display by the students, who all made it through to the end of the week which is an achievement in itself as it is a demanding, challenging programme.

“Parents, fire service officers, and the Mayor of Flint were invited to the display, which consisted of two drills incorporating all the skills learnt in the week followed by a certificate presentation. To the students’ credit it was a great display, they did themselves proud.  

“We hope the course enables the students to reflect on the week and use what they have learnt to become successful in making good decisions.”

Gemma Swinburn, TA, accompanied the group.  She said: ”The staff were so encouraging and welcoming to us all, making us feel right at home from the off. 

“Our students thrived, learning about the day-to-day work of a fire crew member and felt like part of the team as soon as they were suited and booted. ”

“They gave it their all when faced with challenges that were very much out of their comfort zone and showed the utmost resilience and determination during every task, which resulted in a faultless display on the last day.”

“They showed professionalism and maturity, and I am very proud of their efforts, and to have had the privilege of working alongside them.”

“Seeing just how ecstatic they were when parents and senior staff from the Fire Service, along with the Mayor of Flint and Council Leader, were there for the certificate presentation was the icing on the cake.”

Christine Wineyard, assistant headteacher, arranged for the students to take part.  She said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with North Wales Fire and Rescue Services again.”

“The Phoenix Project is a great opportunity for students to gain confidence, develop their teamworking skills, and to understand the importance of discipline, all in a ‘real life’ scenario.”

“Being able to do this through a practical course within their local community is fantastic; it is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

“It has been a very challenging time for students over the past few years with reduced opportunities to learn alongside outside agencies, so we are particularly pleased that students from Ysgol Treffynnon have been able to get involved. ”

“I would like to thank Brian Drawbridge and his team for providing the opportunity and Mrs Swinburn for supporting the students during the course.”

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