Changing lives in just 12 weeks

A course led by firefighters to help support struggling youngsters across Tyne and Wear has been praised – after it helped half of those who took part get a job.

The Prince’s Trust Team programme has been run by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) for almost 20 years now.

Team is a 12-week personal development programme which helps develop self-confidence, leadership, and employability skills.

It is aimed at young people aged 16 – 25 who may be at a crossroads in their life, including those who may be out of work or not in education.

Unsure on the next step, they may be looking to gain employability skills, or they could just want to do something different with their time.

Previous courses have helped agoraphobics leave their homes for the first time and support refugees integrate into their communities.

The most recent course was held in both Washington and Farringdon Community Fire Stations and finished in July.

Of the 14 people who took part in this course – five of them already secured paid work after the course helped them gain the skills to get back into employment, two returned to education and one is now volunteering with TWFRS.

And today (Friday), TWFRS’s Diversionary Activities Manager, John Anderson is praising the course for the good work it does in the community.

He said “The Team programme is a great opportunity for the young people in our area, it provides practical skills, builds relationships, and gives them confidence in themselves.

“We are so proud to be into our 20th year of running this programme which has helped so many young people in our region to develop the skills they need to kick-start their careers.

“Those who got jobs after attending our most recent course are now working in a care home kitchen, working for a local heating and insulation company, and working in a warehouse specialising in fresh fruit and veg.

“We start our next course in just a few weeks and I can’t wait to meet the new people who are ready to change their life.”

Lucy Gifford, Head of Service Delivery for Yorkshire and the North East at The Prince’s Trust said: “It is incredibly rewarding seeing young people, hat have done our programmes, thrive.

“Together with the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service we’re continuing to work to change young people’s lives.

“If you know someone who you think could benefit from Team, or other support from The Prince’s Trust to help build their skills and confidence, further information is available at”.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the programme is split into several interesting areas including a teambuilding outward bounds residential course; a community project; a two-week work placement; and a next steps training week.

The programme concludes with a fundraising and final team challenge, which culminates in the young people producing a fun and informative presentation to the rest of the group about what they have experienced.

Throughout the course the young people also learn about first aid, drug and alcohol awareness, and take part in a variety of fire safety training activities – where they train alongside current serving firefighters.

The next course begins on 26th September in Washington and Farringdon, if you are interested you can call or text the word FIRE to 07584006913.

The course will not affect people’s ability to claim benefits, and all travel costs (by bus or metro) will be covered by the programme team.

Under 19s can also apply for a student bursary to enable them to attend the course