A group of young people are celebrating after completing a course designed to push them and teach new skills.

The Phoenix course, run by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, was trialled initially at Rushmoor fire station in November, and since then has been helping youngsters get closer to reaching their full potential.

The 11 to 16-year-olds from Rushmoor, Hart and Basingstoke and Deane were referred on to the scheme, which replaces the previous Life Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) course.

Phoenix builds on teamwork and determination by getting participants to complete firefighting tasks, then identifying trigger points where previously they may have given up trying.

“Every day was made slightly hard, allowing the students to push themselves or see potential trigger points when the may choose to give up,” explained watch manager Duncan Foster, one of the lead course instructors.

“Through mentoring and encouragement we we able to help them push past these triggers to achieve goals.

“There was the opportunity to use the same equipment and techniques we use as firefighters during the initial course, and they could challenge themselves by going up in an aerial ladder platform, challenging phobia as well as physical triggers and it again allowed us to talk them through.”

Youngsters taking part in the Phoenix course at Rushmoor fire station

Watch manager Foster was joined by team leader for the fire service, Gary Sloan, and Shannon Doughty to lead the course, and all said they were proud of the students’ achievements.

Since completing the course, the young people have attended five development sessions looking at further skills such as using breathing apparatus, basic first aid, road safety, smoke alarms and fire safety in the home.

They also received accreditation, giving them credits which contribute towards other programmes.

Last Wednesday (February 10), Rushmoor fire station awarded its most recent participants with their certificates.

Mr Sloan said: “The Phoenix course is a more holistic, in-depth course than the previous LIFE course, and unlike its predecessor, there is a large element of mentoring and further education involved.

“The course retains the essence of the LIFE course but now also includes first aid, home fire safety and arson-awareness.

"It is now more target-led, and there are requirements which last long after the course itself has finished – for example, targets in the home such as not swearing, or healthy eating, which we follow up on to determine the success of the course.”

Youngsters taking part in the Phoenix course at Rushmoor fire station