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Youngsters pass-out in style after Firebreak success

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service celebrated the first Firebreak of the year in January, with nine students passing out at a special ceremony. 

Students from Impington Village College spent the week with Community Development Instructors at Cottenham station, where they took part in a fire service themed intervention programme that offers a positive alternative learning environment.  

The week cumulating with a pass-out parade in front of parents/guardians, teaching staff , senior fire officers and dignitaries, including the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Mark Ashton. 

Nine students and two members of the teaching team from the school spent a week with firefighters learning how to use hose reels, ladders and breathing apparatus (BA) and learning first aid. The course helps them to develop team working skills and increase self-esteem as well as confidence and reducing risky behaviour through workshops and drill yard activities. 

The Firebreak programme has been running for several years in Cambridgeshire and helps young people develop themselves and inspiring them to go on and achieve various personal goals and develop an awareness of future opportunities. In the last 12 months – the Service has supported over 70 students from schools and academies across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

For some young people, the opportunity to undertake this type of learning outside the classroom can really help them to reach their full potential, not only building their aspiration, but also helping them to learn about citizenship and public services.  At the end of the course, students achieve a Unit Award Scheme certificates in; CPR and Basic Life Support, Basic Firefighting Skills and Active Citizenship. 

Station Commander Paul Clarke, who is the lead for Children and Young People in Cambridgeshire commented: “Throughout the week, we have seen all of the young people develop, challenge themselves and carry out activities they never thought they could do. Not only have they gained lifelong skills, they have gained confidence in themselves and their abilities which will help them with positive decision making in the future. 

“The difference we see in the students from day one to day five is vast – and to be able to support so many students over the year is a fantastic achievement for all those involved.” 

Speaking on behalf of Impington Village College, Vice Principal Katie Jarvis commented: “We have over last year sent two groups of students on the Firebreak course and students and staff alike have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from their time there. 

“I’m confident they will look back on the course as one of the highlights of their time in school. The range of activities the students take part in is very impressive, and instils in them a sense of responsibility and pride many of them won’t have experienced before. The instructors are able to form good relationships with the students, and encourage and motivate them in a way that isn’t always possible in school.” 

Cllr Mark Ashton, the Mayor of Cambridge added: “What an amazing scheme Firebreak is, I can’t praise the fire service enough for how they are supporting young people as part of the programme. It’s amazing what they have achieved with the students in five days.” 

The course is available to all young people aged 11-18 but is particularly aimed at addressing a core group of individuals within this age range.  

Referrals to this course can only be made by those working with children and young people, such as the police, school or agency working with young people and families.  

To find out more about costs and the Firebreak course, contact us at: or on 0800 917 9994.