Elaine was raised on her parents’ farm in Mid Wales and attended Builth Wells High School before continuing her education at Cardiff University, gaining a BA (Hons) Degree in Education.
Elaine joined the Fire and Rescue Service in 1995 as a member of the Control Room within Powys Fire Service. Following the formation of MWWFRS in April 1996, Elaine continued her journey as a Control Room Operator at the Headquarters site in Carmarthen and has since taken on a role within the Arson Reduction Team, as an Arson Reduction Advisor and since 2011 has been the Service Youth Development Officer.
“My career within the Fire and Rescue Service has led me back to my degree subject ‘Education’ – I love my role and what positive experiences the Fire and Rescue Service can bring to young people. I have always been keen to ensure that we provide a first-class service to young people, especially those who may not find the best in themselves through mainstream education, but I want to ensure that all young people are treated as individuals throughout our intervention programmes.
Our Team of Youth Workers are inspiring – their work is renowned across the Service due to their grit and determination to make things happen.
My role is to oversee the work of the Youth Team and to establish robust partnerships, primarily targeting young people who have been through the youth justice system or are potentially on the cusp of offending. Our partnership with Hillside Secure Centre in Neath, currently in its 12th year, is a prime example, but we are now in a position to offer a range of interventions to the young people within the Centre from Crimes and Consequences, Phoenix Project, Centre based projects, Fire Setters Intervention as well as the annual ‘Hillympics’, a sport based activity day which I introduced in 2012.
In addition, I am responsible for the National Fire Cadet programme (formerly Young Firefighters) and I represent the Service at the CFOA National Fire Cadet Board, a programme that will become standard across the UK. This programme has proven to be successful in engaging with young people, as some of whom have since joined the Service, either as support staff, On-Call or Wholetime Firefighters.
Whilst this is an amazing outcome, this is not what the scheme is ultimately about. I have seen many young people develop in self-confidence throughout their time with us and participate in numerous activities and fundraisers outside of their comfort zone, which ultimately provides a positive experience for them.
Parents often tell me how grateful they are to the Fire and Rescue Service, as the work we deliver and the manner in which we do so provides a bespoke and professional service, with the young people at the forefront of all our interventions.
The youth work interventions within MAWWFRS have developed massively over the past 10 years. Through the Service’s innovation and determination, we are proud to be able to offer accreditation for Phoenix Courses and a BTEC Level 2 for our Cadets. #theAteam”