10th February 2014
St John Ambulance is trialling a new Peer Education unit in Birmingham which aims to train young people to deliver first aid training to other young people, thanks to funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of Youth United's Supporting Inclusion Programme.
It is based on an approach that has worked successfully in London to engage young people. The Peer Education training they receive is an accredited course, which gives participants the opportunity to gain a BTEC qualification, learn new skills and increase their self-confidence. The unit currently engages ten young people between 14 and 25.
Most of the young people attending the unit have now completed their BTEC course, and under the guidance of St John Ambulance youth development officers and staff, have been delivering first aid training to other young people in their community. Some of the peer educators, for example, have worked with the National Citizens Service.
DJ Hanoon has been particularly active in Birmingham raising awareness of the importance of first aid amongst other young people. DJ said, “Since I’ve joined the Peer Education Unit I have trained NCS participants, youth offenders, mentored new peer educators, assisted with Emergency Service Cadets and had the opportunity to present peer education to St John Ambulance Australia. I first got involved in the project after I heard about it from a unit leader on a residential and it immediately sounded like something I would really like to be involved in”.
Ruth Jalloh, St John Ambulance Social Inclusion Manager, said, “The funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government has enabled us to reach young people in many new areas who we know benefit from the chance to learn new skills and be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”
As well as engaging young people the Peer Education Unit has also successfully recruited new adult volunteers. Since the unit was opened in January 2013 four new adult volunteers have become involved with the programme.