London Fire Brigade

Young people in Tottenham offered firefighting experience

20 February 2012

Young lady training with a fire hose on the LIFE course in TottenhamUnemployed young people in Tottenham, where last summer’s riots started, will today begin a new week-long firefighting course which will give them the skills to get into training, education or the workplace.

A group of 18-25 year olds are set to take part in the Brigade’s Local Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) course at Tottenham Fire Station, whose crews attended several fires during the riots. The young people will learn rescue techniques as well as how to use ladders, breathing apparatus and hoses. The scheme aims  to improve discipline, confidence and team building skills. Previous LIFE courses are usually for 13-17 year olds but this course is unique in being aimed at 18-25 year olds as people in that age range are amongst those hardest hit by the economic downturn.

This Tottenham LIFE scheme has been set up in direct response to the Riots Communities and Victims Panel report, ‘5 Days in August’, which said that local public services and businesses could do more to get young people into the jobs market.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority Cllr Brian Coleman AM FRSA said:

“Lives and communities were shattered during the August riots and nowhere more so than in Tottenham. Firefighters are often out in the areas they serve, working to prevent or put out fires. This scheme is the fire brigade’s chance to offer something extra to the young people of Tottenham.

“We really hope that the young adults on this course will use the new skills they learn wisely. This course will give these young people in Tottenham the helping hand they need to get back in to education, employment or training.”

Cllr Bernice Vanier, Cabinet member for Communities at Haringey Council, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for these young people to learn new skills which will hopefully help many of them to find a way into employment. I know that the previous LIFE courses for teenagers have been a great success, and hope that that the 18-25 year olds taking part this time round will gain a great deal from the week.”

The course is being jointly funded by the London Fire Brigade and Haringey Council. The Council’s ‘Haringey Guarantee’ employment scheme and the local Job Centre plus selected the young adults for the course and will offer them work experience at the London Fire Brigade or other partner organisations.

Haringey is the fifth most deprived London borough and the rate of unemployment in the borough higher the national average.

Notes for editors:

About LIFE

The week long LIFE scheme was set up in 2002 to reduce anti-social behaviour directed at fire crews. Participants may also be suffering from low self-esteem or been victims of crime. It is usually targeted at 13-17 year olds who have offended or are not succeeding in education. The special Tottenham LIFE course is aimed at slightly older participants, aged between 18 and 25.

Since it was set up there have been over 500 LIFE courses and nearly 5,000 young Londoners have benefited from the programme.
Participants learn real firefighting skills which are designed to improve motivation, confidence and team building skills. Evaluations have shown that young people with a history of offending or anti-social behaviour are less likely to engage in this sort of behaviour after taking part.

Last year the London Fire Brigade approved a £1 million funding boost for LIFE and the Brigade is continuing seek further funding for the programme from external organisations.

For more information on LIFE, ring 020 8555 1200 and ask for the Youth Engagement manager.

Young people and unemployment

There are over one million unemployed young people in Britain and the number who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) has doubled in London over the last 3 years. In Haringey there are over 2,000 16-24 year olds who are on Job Seeker’s Allowance.