Education Skills to boost Rehabilitation
6 June 2017
Work training helping
young people get lives on right track.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has welcomed the progress
made by the first young men to complete a Scottish Fire &
Rescue Service training programme at HMP & YOI Polmont.
The team of six ran through drills and first aid demonstrations
following intensive training with the SFRS trainers to develop
their work skills and build confidence.
Introduced in January, the Fireskills programme has worked with
13 young men so far and has another two courses planned for this
Mr Matheson said:
"The skills and commitment shown by this group of young men is
really impressive and a good example of the decisive shift that we
have made towards early intervention and prevention which is
helping to reduce youth offending. This course has allowed the team
and their trainers to look at the factors that influence young
people to turn to crime.
"Over the course of their training the individuals have faced up
to the impact that their crimes have had on their victims and
communities, on the people who care about them and on
"By motivating these young men Fireskills is giving them the
knowledge, qualifications and confidence to secure work, provide
for their families and rebuild their lives when they leave Polmont.
And, of course, by working to prevent re-offending, we can keep
crime down, and continue to reduce the likelihood of people
becoming victims of crime."
Matthew and Callum took part in the course in January and - are
now mentors to the new starts coming on the programme.
"I enjoyed working as a team most of all, you know realising
that you're not on your own, your team mate has got your back and
you've got theirs. To start with it is a bit difficult to pick up
the drills and working with the hoses, but the firefighters take it
easy on us.
"If there's a problem they say that there are no stupid
questions and we'd get things sorted, we'd get it in our heads and
by the second day we basically doing it right ourselves. It was
brilliant. It just shows how good they were at showing us what they
knew and I really appreciated them coming in and taking their time
to show us."
"It was amazing coming in and seeing the guys from the SFRS and
they treated us like they'd treat anybody else. It didn't feel like
they were working separately from us, we were a team, and it was
amazing to just feel part of that team. It felt quite human and in
here it's easy to feel like just another number, and they made us
feel like people.
"I had never done any first aid before, it's not something I had
ever even thought about. I was a bit worried, I was a bit nervous
about doing it, because I thought, what if I do this wrong but I
caught on really easy. It is good to think that one day, maybe I'll
be able to save somebody, or help somebody else save someone's
life, which is something I could be happy with."
Brenda Stewart, Governor of HMP & YOI Polmont, said:
"I am delighted at the support we have received from SFRS.
Building up the self-esteem of the young people in our care is
fundamental to reintegrating them successfully into the outside
world. The work that has been done here by the SFRS in partnership
with SPS is an outstanding example of the kind of contribution
public services can make to transforming lives."
James Young, SFRS Crew Manager and youth instructor, said:
"We're trying to teach these guys life skills to make them
more employable using the core skills that firefighters learn -
team building, communication, health and safety, first aid. We want
to give them some sort of ambition, make them realise the abilities
that they have and build their confidence so they realise that it's
all down to them and they can achieve what they want to
The fact that we can see past that they're in an institution and
work with them shows that other people can see past that as well.
Some of the guys in the search and rescue, the standards that they
are achieving is absolutely fantastic and a few of them have
already said that they want to try and apply to the service when
they leave and it's fantastic."
Future programmes are scheduled to take place in July, August
and October, enabling young people to gain four credit points at
SCQF level 4.
The programme is delivered by SFRS youth instructors in
partnership with Community Justice Scotland. They are supported by
SFRS community action team members and HMP & YOI Polmont
community safety officers.
The young men must adhere to a code of conduct and agree to the
full commitment required to complete the course prior to
Source - The Scottish Government