999 Academy Lite for SW

A new version of an emergency services’ youth initiative has been launched for young people in the South West to develop lifesaving skills.

Ambulance, police and fire have teamed-up with Cornwall Council to deliver ‘999 Academy Lite’ which aims to inspire young people to create safer communities.

Established in 2011, the 999 Academy youth development programme normally runs for 18-months during term time outside of education hours.

Now a seven-day version of the course is being run to give young people aged 16-19 the opportunity to learn new skills during school holidays.

The Cornish partnership is formed of Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, and Cornwall Council Youth Offending Service and Community Safety Team.

Chief Superintendent Jim Pearce, Devon and Cornwall Police’s commander for Cornwall, said:

“I have been very impressed with this new version of the 999 academy and can see the benefits. Those involved have learnt about how to protect and help the public in a very engaging way. Whether or not this becomes a full time career in the future for them is by the by, as this experience will help them impress any future employer. Well done to all involved.”

Rob Horton, Responder Manager for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We wanted to create a balance between education and practical experiences with the students leaving the 999 Academy with some certificated skills but also with the ability to share their experiences with other young people and with potential employers, to blow them away with tales of learning to surf, triaging major medical emergencies, rescuing people from a smoke-filled room or being a team player learning bush craft skills.

“Previous courses have seen young people progress to train as full time paramedics, police officers, nurses and defence medics and this is wonderful to see the future heroes coming through into the emergency services.

“This joint emergency services’ 999 Academy programme is set up to inspire young people to become valued and respected members of our community whilst developing the transferrable skills which employers and education providers are looking for on a CV.”

Cornwall Council’s Youth Offending Service, Service Manager, Christine Walker-Booth said:

“The 999 Academy is a marvellous example of partnership working with services coming together to provide exciting new experiences for young people. The programme has offered the students chances they would never have otherwise been able to access. They were offered opportunities to become involved in completely new situations that both challenged them and taught them new skills. These new found skills will enable them to face their future challenges with more resilience and confidence. Congratulations to all involved.”

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer (interim), Mark Hewitt said:

“It was a pleasure to see the 999 Academy students celebrate their end of course with a presentation at Tolvaddon Community Fire Station. This is another example of a multi-agency led course delivering outcomes that develop and improve the lives of young people through a structured and disciplined program. The course leaders are community role models and provide the best learning experience to the students based on years of emergency service experience.”

The 999 Academy remains at the forefront in delivering practical skills to young people, having branched out from Barnstaple, North Devon. Other locations for further courses are being developed across the South West.

The mission statement of the 999 Academy is:

To provide knowledge and skills for individuals by raising aspirations and promoting a positive image and using the following core values:

Respect, Inclusion, Education, Safety, Community

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