Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue relaunch SPECTRA personal development programme

By Jessica Durston - 20 October 2021

  • Sir Charles Hobhouse and Shirley Ludford visit the team for the first SPECTRA Swindon course

    Sir Charles Hobhouse and Shirley Ludford visit the team for the first SPECTRA Swindon course

The first course of SPECTRA was held in Swindon at the end of last month.

Previously known as Salamander in the north of the Service area and SPARC in the south, the SPECTRA scheme is aimed at young people and adults who would benefit from developing life and work skills in a positive environment.

As well as mentoring the participants, Service instructors use firefighting activities to help encourage and support confidence, self-esteem and teamwork.

Courses are commissioned by partners including local authorities, schools and charities.

The new name SPECTRA stands for Support, Purpose, Enthusiasm, Challenge, Trust, Resilience, Achievement – however, its dictionary definition is ‘classifying something in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme points’.

This was said to have struck a chord with the delivery team as comparisons were made with each learner’s personal journey during a course and the impact the course can have on their development in a short period of time.

Youth Intervention Manager Rob Guy said: “The rebranding allows us to bring a refreshed look and feel to the courses, helping us to reach new partners while maintaining the relationships we have with our existing partners. Our aim is to help stimulate the demand for courses across the whole Service area, rather than being concentrated in areas where we already have good support.”

The first SPECTRA Swindon course was culminated with a pass-out parade where Deputy Lieutenants of Wiltshire Shirley Ludford and Claire Garrett, and the High Sheriff of Wiltshire Sir Charles Hobhouse Bt, attended to celebrate the learners’ achievements.

This course was delivered in partnership with Swindon Borough Council’s Adult Community Learning Team and learners were referred from a variety of partners across the town, but DW Fire and Rescue Service says SPECTRA can be tailored to meet the needs of any agency or sponsor looking to achieve a brighter future for either young people or adults.

Rob said: “So many people in our communities will have been affected by the pandemic, and those agencies seeking to help them can commission a course for a specific cohort.

SPECTRA provides a positive and supportive environment where participants use practical activities to work as part of a team, build self-confidence and develop essential life skills, with the added focus on health & wellbeing. Our firefighter instructors guide them through these experiences, supported by classroom learning, so they can truly understand what can be possible.”

More information about commissioning and/or funding a course can be found at or contact Rob Guy on or 07739 899293.

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