Offenders have a burning desire to learn

Man listing in a groupA group of offenders have been given glowing reports after completing a five-day training course at Falmouth Community Fire Station with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

Designed by Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company (DDC CRC) in conjunction with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, the Fireworks scheme gives service users the chance to develop their own communication and leadership skills.

Employment, Training and Education (ETE) Probation Service Officer Tim Fildes devised the five-day course, which helps participants learn to work as a team and take instruction. Learners take part in basic marching drills, hose-running and complex problem-solving exercises.

The Fireworks courses are designed to improve motivation, self-esteem, discipline, confidence and team-building skills. On completing the course, the offenders gain qualifications in First Aid at Work and ASDAN IOL - a nationally approved qualification based around the development of personal, social and employability skills.

Tim Fildes said: “The benefits of this course include a safer and improved community due to a reduction in re offending rates. As a result of the course the offenders have raised aspirations and greater self-esteem, meaning that they are less likely to offend and will have better qualifications and job prospects.”

The firefighters were so impressed by the excellent work and attitude of one of the offenders, who arrived early every day and supported his peers throughout the week, that they have invited him to work alongside the team in the future and share his experiences with young people. 

Dave Pilling, Fireworks Project Manager, said: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service commits itself to developing skills for everyone and these offenders, serving their community sentences with Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company, have shown great enthusiasm in participating in all aspects of the course.

“We continue to use the Fireworks project to invest in offenders across Cornwall using our five day courses. The fire service is able to use its reputation and position of authority and respect within the community to hone people’s team work, communication and leadership skills.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said: “It’s great to see yet more people learn not only how to become better communicators and leaders but to learn a very important fire safety message at the same time. Initiatives such as Fireworks and Supporting Community Values help us to achieve safer communities from the ground up, which is the principal aim of the service.”