The latest crop of Fire Break students graduated from the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service-run course, to rapturous applause.
Students from Shoreham Academy, The Angmering School, and Durrington High School, plus Chatsmore High School, St Andrew’s School and Davison High School, all in Worthing, took part in the five-day course, at Shoreham fire station.
Angela Gates, youth team instructor with WSFRS, said the scheme, for 13 to 16-year-olds, aimed to build confidence, self-esteem and communication skills.
“It may be for those who are getting in trouble, but it could also be for those who are a bit quiet in school,” she said.
“It give them an opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t be able to do normally.”
She added that of the 12 on the latest course, just under half had said they had wanted to become firefighters.
“That makes you quite proud,” she said, “that they see us as role models, and want to come into the service.”
Zach Swain, 14, goes to The Angmering School, and was given a special award for his contribution to the course.
“Before, I thought I might want to be a fireman, because I was interested in other things.
“Now, I just know this is what I want to do. I have really enjoyed it all, it’s been fantastic.”
Hayley Gardner, 14, a Davison student, said she, too, wanted to join up. “The teachers said it would build my confidence, and it really has. It’s been good to get involved with everyone, from different schools.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, all of it.”
Jordan Sharp, 12, and Terry Slark, 13, are both Shoreham students, and agreed they had learnt a lot during the course, which included a trip to Worthing fire station’s breathing apparatus chamber where they carried out mock rescues in the pitch black.
One of the best parts, said Jordan, was climbing to the top of the station’s training tower.
“I was scared of heights, so when I got to the top I felt liked I had achieved something,” he said.