Students from the Bognor Regis area have graduated with life-saving skills after being put through their paces by firefighters.
The 12 youngsters became the latest to complete the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s FireBreak course held at the Bognor Regis fire station.
The intensive five-day programme saw the youngsters perform fire drills at a special passing-out parade in front of an invited audience of proud family and friends.
Tony Hills, the youth project instructor for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I have really enjoyed this week. The students have been really good and they have all thoroughly enjoyed it.
“The course has allowed them to work on a lot of skills and they have shown teamwork, determination, commitment and motivation.
“They completed things like first aid, including CPR, and drills like hose-running.
“FireBreak is very demanding and you can definitely see a difference from the students who have successfully completed the course to when they arrive on the first day.
“It is hard work, but it is definitely rewarding.”
As part of the course, students also achieved a British Heart Foundation HeartStart first aid qualification.
Luke Toy, 13, from Felpham Community College, said: “It’s been really good. It has been hard work, but I have really enjoyed myself and I have learnt a lot of new skills. I really enjoyed the team-building exercises and have made some new friends.”
Luke’s mother, Sandy Belcher, said she was extremely proud of her son. “Luke had not really told me much of what he had been doing, because he said he wanted it to be a surprise.
“He has really enjoyed it and it has given him more confidence and higher self-esteem.”
Bobbi Newton, from Chichester High School for Girls, said: “I have really enjoyed it. It has been excellent.
“When I started I did not have much confidence, but the team leaders and everyone have really helped with that and I am so grateful.
“I will definitely take back what I have learnt to school.”
The scheme, one of a number of youth programmes run by the service, was run in partnership with Wset Sussex County Council’s youth service.
Youth worker Suzi Lever said: “This was my first FireBreak and it has been amazing. It has been intense, but the students have learnt a lot and so have I.
“We became involved to see how the students could be helped after they have completed the course.”
The course saw students from Felpham Community College, the Regis School and St Phillip Howard Catholic High School joined by pupils from Chichester High School for Girls, Cornfield School, Littlegreen School and Littlehampton Academy to take part in practical and classroom-based activities.
The passing-out ceremony took place last Friday and was a chance for the youngsters to showcase their new skills to friends and family.
Following their impressive display, Adrian Murphy from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, and B ognor Regis town mayor presented students with medals and certificates.
Two special awards went to Kyle Keil for outstanding individual achievement and Bobbi Newton for her commitment to team objectives.