EmployAbility and Community Engagement at Ward End Fire Station

The 2nd of June 2016 saw the doors of Ward End Fire Station thrown open to the public for an EmployAbility Open Day, which sought to engage the community and raise awareness of local employment opportunities and support systems available.

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Estella Edwards, CEO of The Future Melting Pot, with Ward End Fire Station Watch Commanders Ade Whitehouse and Lee Dugmore 

The event was delivered by The Future Melting Pot in partnership with West Midlands Fire Service, in a bid to help tackle youth unemployment in the area, as well as supplying information on Firefighter recruitment and Community Membership.

Ward End Station serves the communities of Hodge Hill, which has the second highest unemployment benefit claimant rate of Birmingham’s 10 constituencies[1].  The event brought training providers, employers, and further education colleges from across Birmingham into the locality, to showcase a wide variety of local opportunities currently available to young people from the area.

Attendees of a variety of ages signed up for opportunities with the exhibitors, and young, unemployed people from the locality are now receiving tailored employability support from The Future Melting Pot, to help them break down the barriers to employment, and access education, training and employment opportunities.

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Young people were able to get information about a wide range of local opportunities available

Firefighters engaged with members of diverse communities from across Birmingham, many of whom expressed interest in having their voices heard in West Midlands Fire Service, through both Community Membership, and helping to shape the new West Midlands Fire Service apprenticeships, and over half of the attendees also signed up to attend Firefighter taster days.

West Midlands Fire Service provided a full programme of interactive and eye-opening activities throughout the afternoon, raising awareness of issues relating to road and fire safety and emergency responses.

20 attendees took part in short Heartstart Courses, designed by the British Heart Foundation.  In the interactive learning course, participants were taught how to act in life threatening situations, and practiced emergency response techniques on mannequins.

The live road traffic collision demo’s saw volunteers safely removed from simulated road traffic collision situations by the Ward End Firefighters.  The audience were given a running commentary of the Firefighters procedures by a member of the Road Casualty Reduction Team, and information on what could have caused the collision, and preventative measures that could be taken.

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Ward End Firefighters ‘raising the roof’ during one of the live demos!

The event was a roaring success, with exhibitors commenting that the event was a ‘great initiative’, and attendees remarking on an ‘enjoyable and informative day’. It is hoped that this event will act as a springboard for future Open Days, which seek to engage community spirit to help tackle youth unemployment in our city!

[1] BCC Unemployment Briefing May Birmingham, May 2016

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