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Sunshine Coast Youth Fire Academy is accepting applications for 2023

SD46 Grade 11 and 12 students are eligible for the firefighting program
N. Firefighting b
Sunshine Coast students participate in SD46's first junior firefighter academy.

Plans for Spring Break 2023 could be heating up for Sunshine Coast students — if they apply in time. 

For the second year, School District No. 46 (SD46) is offering its Youth Fire Academy. Over the course of eight days, 12 high school students from the Coast will be spending their spring break learning the ins and outs of what it takes to be a firefighter. The first four days of the program are led by the fire departments on the Coast at the Sechelt training centre. Then, BC Wildfire teaches the recruits all about wildland firefighting. There is a classroom portion of the program as well as more practical sessions: controlled fires, using the jaws of life and more. 

Cathy Gordon, the district career coordinator, said the inaugural program was very successful. Last year, the 10 cadets learned from 21 local firefighters who have a combined 329 years of experience. Two of the 2021 cadets were then hired by BC Wildfire for the summer — and funding for that opportunity available again this year for two Grade 12 students who can prove they have what it takes.

Students should apply if they are interested in a career in health or as a first responder. Skills they learn will be applicable to professions or volunteer positions such as doctors, nurses, search and rescue, firefighters, paramedics and other first responder jobs, Gordon told Coast Reporter. To apply, students must be 16 or older and in Grade 11 or 12. The academy will be from March 11 through 18. A cost of $250 will cover the uniform, snacks, lunches and materials. 

Successful applicants will earn work experience 12A credits, which equates to four credits toward graduation. The application form (available at career-programs.sd46.bc.ca/applications) must be completed by Dec. 16 and submitted to the school counsellor. In the new year, candidates will undergo an interview process and fitness testing, before the successful candidates are contacted. 

Questions can be directed to Cathy Gordon at cgordon@sd46.bc.ca.

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