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Congratulations to the latest Fireskills graduates

Date: 08 January 2024

Photo of recent Fireskills graduates with Philip Morrison, Crew Commander of the Kirkwall Fire Station.

Nine more local young people pass ‘rigorous’ Fireskills challenge

Nine more young people from Orkney have completed a 10-week programme aimed at preparing them for action in their communities, thanks to a partnership between Scottish Fire and Rescue and the Council’s Community Learning, Development and Employability service (CLDE).

Watch our video of the young people being taken through the programme, here on the Council's Youtube channel.

The Fireskills Award is delivered in Orkney by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Stromness and Kirkwall stations, and the Kirkwall Airport Fire Service, alongside youth workers from the Council who help them evidence their learning.

The third year the course has run in Kirkwall (with several years of it being run in Orkney), this latest cohort included pupils from East Mainland and the isles.

The Council’s Youth Services team, part of the wider CLDE service, supported and encouraged the young people throughout, and worked with KGS and Papdale Halls of Residence to recruit young people to the course in the hope that it may also, in the future, encourage them to join their local fire service.

Participants undertook firefighting and rescue skills training in the drill yards at the Kirkwall and Stromness fire stations, and also visited Kirkwall Airport Fire Service to see the difference in equipment used there.

Fireskills is a unique learning experience, developing core employability skills such as leadership, team building, alongside more practical ones such as and first aid, health and safety, and manual handling.

Specific fire and rescue skills explored includes working with ladders and in small and dark spaces, community fire safety, how to rescue a casualty from a car involved in a collision and emergency first aid, search and rescue of casualty in a building, and safe and appropriate use of equipment including PPE and breathing apparatus.

Young people who successfully complete Fireskills also receive a Dynamic Youth Award or put this towards their Bronze Youth Achievement Award – both SCQF accredited (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) at levels 3 and 4 respectively.

Philip Morrison is Crew Commander of the Kirkwall Fire Station with Scottish Fire & Rescue Service:

“This is the third Fireskills course we have had the pleasure of running at Kirkwall Community Fire Station, with partnership help from the Council’s Youth Services team and Highlands and Islands Airport.

“This comprehensive programme, designed to instil SFRS values and practical skills, covers a spectrum ranging from teamwork to crucial life saving techniques.

“Throughout the course, young people immerse themselves in a transformative journey, not only acquiring firefighting skills but also honing in on respect, discipline, teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. It is the same holistic approach taken when preparing anyone for the demanding and crucial role of a firefighter.

“One of the course highlights was the training in first aid, where participants learned life saving techniques, including CPR and the proper use of a defibrillator. The invaluable knowledge gained in this aspect of the course is not only essential for their roles as potential future firefighters, but something they can carry forward to their communities in everyday life.

“Other aspects covered over the 10-week course included learning how the fire service operates, hose running, the use of ladders on buildings, search and rescue techniques - blind folded! - and problem-solving with the equipment given to them.

“Reaching the end of the Fireskills course is a testament to the commitment of these nine individuals who took part. We commend their dedication and look forward to witnessing the positive impact they will undoubtedly make in their communities.”

Gwenda Shearer is Chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee: “Working together, Fireskills provides a fantastic platform for young people to boost their confidence and employability, and learn skills to carry themselves and their communities through challenging times. Huge thanks and congratulations go to everyone involved for the ongoing success of the programme, and the achievement of these nine individuals.”

The Council’s Youth Services team would like to extend a special thank you to Mick Harcus for the Community Fire Safety and Virtual Reality RTC (road traffic collision), session and Kirkwall Airport Fire Service for the tour and display of their specialised firefighting and training equipment.

You can find out more about Dynamic Youth awards here on the Awards Network website.

Anyone interested in Fireskills should contact the Council’s Youth Services team on

Pictured here (from left to right) are Philip Morrison, Crew Commander of the Kirkwall Fire Station with Jacob Marwick, Fynn Hayes, Toni-Ann Piper, Katy Whitman, Oliver Jamieson at their completion ceremony. Missing from the photo are Ruari Towrie, Alfie Ap Dayfd and Eva Jamieson.

  • Summary:

    Nine more young people from Orkney have completed a 10-week programme aimed at preparing them for action in their communities, thanks to a partnership between Scottish Fire and Rescue and the Council’s Community Learning, Development and Employability service (CLDE).

  • Category:
    Learning and Dev. (CLD)
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