Published: Friday, 20th November 2020
An initial cohort of 15 uniformed services students have been trained by borough council environmental health officers so that they can support the work of the Covid marshalls in west Norfolk.
Cllr Stuart Dark MBE, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk cabinet member for Environmental Services and Public Protection, explained that the students are also gaining valuable work experience that has been denied to them due to the pandemic: "We became aware that a number of great uniformed services students at the College of West Anglia, who wish to pursue careers in public service such as the police, fire or ambulance services, NHS or military were in danger of not being able to achieve their required work experience because of the impact of Coronavirus and its associated restrictions.
"We identified an innovative opportunity whereby they could support the work of the marshalls and take on a really high profile role, which provides them with relevant experience and helps towards their qualification and future CV, whilst helping their local community at this really critical time.
We spoke with staff at the college and students and were touched by their support and enthusiasm to help.
The students come from all over west Norfolk and are on Level 2 and Level 3 Uniformed Services courses. Now that they have been trained they will be out in the community in a highly visible reassurance and guidance role, helping to give information and advice to people and businesses to ensure they are protecting themselves, protecting others and following the rules in order to protect west Norfolk.
David Pomfret, Principal/Chief Executive of the College of West Anglia, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Council on this project. It is of the upmost importance that we keep everyone safe at this time and young people, especially, are a crucial part of this process. We hope that our Protective Public Services students’ work with the Council’s Marshalls encourages young people to stay safe and keep others safe.”
The initial project with the students will take us to 2nd December, but it is envisaged that this will then be extended, as more resource could be required in the lead up to Christmas to help ensure people stay safe.
The students will mainly be involved with ensuring businesses are running in line with government guidelines, signposting them to where information and support is available, gathering examples of best practice and reporting any areas of concern so that a follow up visit can be undertaken by an Environmental Health Officer.
Cllr Dark added: "What these young students will be helping us to do, is to instill greater confidence that we will all be able to shop safely in the current ‘restrictions’ period and in the lead up to Christmas. In return they will gain confidence in their own abilities, along with a greater understanding of dealing with the public and reporting processes. The overall outcome will be that they are commendably helping to keep the public safe, helping to prevent the spread of the virus, and protecting their community."