Wasps partner with WMFS to help region's young people

Date: 27 Feb 2019

Wasps have teamed up with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) to help the region’s young people back into education or employment.

Around 30 students from Wasps’ HITZ programme recently visited Bickenhill Community Fire Station to learn about the dangers and consequences of dangerous driving as part of a six-week programme delivered in partnership with WMFS.

The young people were also exposed to the role of a first responder – such as the procedures followed in a collision - as they were encouraged to consider a career in the fire service.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme and is delivered locally by Wasps. It targets 14 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training with enrichment activities outside of the classroom, as well as careers advice and the chance to earn qualifications.

Part of the sessions involved the recreation of a car crash scenario, during which the youngsters participated in an emergency response and experienced the aftermath of a crash.

HITZ members also took part in a hazard perception test – but with a twist. The students were required to wear a visual headset, which tests their decision making as they try to navigate their way to a virtual party, and promotes the use of common sense when driving.

In addition to this, the youngsters experienced Bickenhill Community Fire Station’s specialised room dedicated to disaster response training, where they were tasked with locating bodies within a replica of a demolished building, using their teamwork skills to rescue them from dimly-lit, confined spaces.

Other activities delivered by Wasps’ HITZ programme as part of their link with WMFS include a first aid qualification, a careers talk about how they can get involved in the fire service, and a rock climbing and abseiling week.

Anthony O’Reilly, Wasps HITZ Officer, said: “The road traffic awareness programme is a great example of what HITZ is about – helping young people to become well-rounded individuals and making the right life choices, while also opening their eyes to a potential career.

“The programme was an eye-opener for a lot of the young people who took part.

“We will continue to tailor our work with WMFS to suit to individual needs of the HITZ students - a lot of the young people on this year’s HITZ programme expressed their interest in driving, which is why we have moved to team up with West Midlands Fire Service. 

“We are always looking for new and interesting ways we can support the growth of the young people on the programme.

“I’d like to thank our colleagues at the West Midlands Fire Service for putting this programme together and making a difference to the lives of our Wasps HITZ members.”

Mark Leeson, Watch Commander of Bickenhill Community Fire Station, added: “We’re delighted to be involved in the HITZ programme. This age-group are among our most vulnerable road users.

“The Wasps initiative complements our wider community education and prevention work, a key part of which is to reduce the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

For more information about Wasps’ HITZ programme, visit www.wasps.co.uk/community