Safer People And Responsible Communities (SPARC) helps to make communities in Dorset safer by working proactively with young people aged between 13 and 17.
The course is designed for young people who have:
- offended or are at risk of offending;
- been excluded from school or are at risk of being excluded from school; and/or
- been the victims of crime, bullying etc.
The project is delivered by specially trained firefighters and the main aim is to prevent young people from becoming persistent offenders or being permanently excluded from school. We provide this intensive five day work experience within a disciplined and focused team environment.
Each individual student is given personal responsibility for the management and maintenance of the fire engine they use during the course, its firefighting equipment and their own personal protective equipment.
The course is specifically designed to challenge and change the attitude and behaviour of the young people by getting them to:
- Adopt a new set of personal values;
- Understand the consequences of firesetting and anti-social behavior;
- Work co-operatively with others in a team environment;
- See the advantages of improving their learning and performance;
- Gain self-esteem and self-confidence; and
- Improve communication skills.
The ratio of firefighters to students is one to two, which means a strong bond of trust is established – this invariably means that any advice given is listened to and acted upon. Each young person completing the course gains a more positive view of themselves and what they can achieve.
Why it works
Statistics show that almost half of all crime is committed by young people between the ages of 13 and 21. As a Fire and Rescue Service, we feel we have a lot to offer in terms of our standing within the community, as we are a well-structured organisation with self-disciplined staff who can serve as role models to young people.
In addition to reducing anti-social behaviour, the course also increases awareness of what the work we do. The SPARC Project allows young people to experience what it is like to be an operational firefighter. This gives a good basis for understanding the many needless and avoidable incidents that the emergency services attend on a daily basis.
Over the five days of the course, each young person gains:
- firefighting skills;
- team building skills;
- a portfolio of achievements;
- greater self-esteem;
- fire and safety awareness; and
- career opportunities.
We are working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to bring together a participant programme for JobCentre Plus clients, aimed at enhancing employment prospects through enhanced motivation, confidence, team building and employability skills.
The seven day intensive course, delivered by specially trained operational firefighters, takes place at a local fire station in a disciplined and focused team environment.
The scheme provides challenges to enhance communication skills, encourage teamwork and raise achievement and self-discipline. In addition, delegates can receive input on how to complete a CV, learn interview techniques, receive a first aid certificate on successful completion of the course, and spend a day training to hold a personal licence to enable them to sell alcohol in licensed employment.
For further information, email [email protected]