Find out how West Mids Fire Service are helping people with complex needs

Vulnerable people in the West Mids are being helped to lead safer lives, thanks to “Complex Needs Officers (CNOs),” according to West Midlands Fire Service.

CNOs can now study towards a Level 2 Diploma in Adult Social Care, as part of a new apprenticeship scheme.

The qualification, provided on our behalf by Performance Through People, will enable our CNOs to build on their initial training. They’ll be able to study specialist modules to help them better understand the needs of our more vulnerable residents.

Group Commander Juliet Malone, of our Prevention Team, said:

“This is an exciting development that will protect vulnerable people within the West Midlands. We know that these vulnerable people have a higher risk of being involved in a fire in their home. We help them to live healthier and safer lives.

“All of our CNOs have volunteered to take on extra responsibilities as Complex Needs Officers. We’re delighted to recognise this commitment by now offering standardised training wherever they work in the West Midlands, plus the option to study towards an apprenticeship qualification.”

WMFS firefighters call on the expertise of a Complex Needs Officer when they meet and have concerns for a member of the public who is at heightened risk of fire in the home.

“This could be for a number of reasons, often linked to their mental capacity or physical health,” explained G/Cmdr Malone. “They might be elderly, a hoarder or have an alcohol dependency.

“Our CNOs have the training and skills to recognise what extra help they might need, and to work closely with other agencies to provide it.”

Rob Colbourne, Performance Through People’s Managing Director, said:

“It is always a pleasure to start working with any new employer that’s committed to training and developing their staff. The enthusiasm and support WMFS have for this initiative and the positive impact it will have on the vulnerable makes us very proud to have been chosen to work with them and provide an outstanding learning experience.

“As lead provider for the Ladder for Greater Birmingham, a campaign to raise awareness of apprenticeship schemes and the benefit they bring, this is an excellent example of how apprenticeships can develop your talent and attract new staff.”

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