Hands-on emergency services opportunity for youth

1 Mar 2016, 10:49 AM

Fifteen young people will get the chance to build hands-on emergency services skills in a special Bream Bay training programme that kicks off this weekend.

The participating youngsters have been specially nominated from within the Bream Bay and surrounding communities to take part in the national Youth in Emergency Services (YES) programme.

This weekend they will begin their hands-on programme meeting up with the NZ Fire service and Whangarei District Rural Fire Authority. The students will experience the work of other key local emergency services including Coastguard, St John, NZ Red Cross, NZ Police and Ruakaka Surf Lifesaving during the balance of their four week programme.

Shona Morgan, spokesperson for Northland's YES co-ordinating work group, says the programme is designed to strengthen the connection between young people and their communities and is funded by the Ministries of Youth Development and Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Ms Morgan says the young Northlanders taking part in this year's programme (all aged between 15 and 18) have been nominated for the programme by local schools.

"The students are all really keen and enthusiastic and we're looking forward to working with them," she says.

Emergency scenarios and an exercise based on a mock disaster will be among the programme features.

She says as well as encouraging a more active participation in their local communities, the programme helps participants develop a number of useful practical skills.

"For some it will also be a crucial initial step in what could eventually become further involvement in the emergency services field, either as a volunteer or as part of a paid career. It also enables a greater appreciation from the communities themselves about the value and contribution their young people can make."

Meanwhile, she says at the conclusion of the programme, participants will be offered the opportunity to volunteer for two months with the emergency service of their choice.

She says as well as encouraging a more active participation in their local communities, the YES programme also helps participants develop useful practical skills as well as encouraging them to volunteer.