Learning the drill...

Published 19 February 2015



Pupils went on parade as they donned scaled-down firefighters' uniforms as part of a WDH backed project aimed at boosting their school attendance rates.

The CHOICE (Children Have Options Imagination Challenge and Experience) scheme allows youngsters aged nine to 11 to find out about the world of work and how going to school can improve their career prospects.

Several organisations are working together to deliver the scheme including WDH, Pontefract Education and Academies Trust, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire services, Wakefield College, British Transport Police and Wakefield Youth Offending Team.

Firefighter Instructor Joe Helme put a dozen youngsters from Pontefract, some from Carleton Park Primary School and others from The Rookeries Carleton Junior and Infant School, through their paces at Castleford Fire Station. Other Pontefract schools also taking part in the programme are Cobblers Lane, Orchard Head, St Giles and De-Lacy.

Annette Jones, CHOICE District Manager, said: " The programme includes a six-week fire fighting course to develop the children's team building skills, which ends in the middle of March and will also include a session on the repercussions and costs of making hoax emergency calls.

"It also includes a selection of taster sessions for young people in construction, mechanics, bricklaying and hair and beauty, which help them think about future career options."

Students are awarded points when they complete sections of the course and have a 'passing out parade' at the end of the 30-week programme.

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