A pioneering scheme which will see young people training with fire crews and learning vital life skills is set to be launched next week.
"Staffordshire is the first brigade in the country to launch this extremely innovative scheme for young people. It aims to inspire teenagers to be disciplined and committed to achieving their aims for the future, as well as becoming well-round citizens who contribute to their community."
Development Officer for the Supporting Inclusion Programme Jess Patten
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be the first brigade in the country to run the revamped Fire Cadets programme.
It will see more than 30 young people aged 14-17 learn operational skills such as hose running, water drills, breathing apparatus and casualty extrication.
They will also be taught life skills including healthy living, how to handle money and job application techniques during the 39-week course, starting in September.
The scheme is designed to reduce anti-social behaviour by engaging young people in structured, community based activities.
Cadets will gain the confidence to become ambassadors within their peer group, passing on the message of fire safety and the consequences of arson and making hoax 999 calls.
Upon successful completion of the training, the cadets will achieve BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Fire and Rescue Services in the Community and an NCFE Level 1 in Employability skills.
The initiative is being supported by Department for Communities and Local Government, Youth United Foundation, Chief Fire Officers’ Association and Fire Services’ Youth Training Association.
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Enness will officially launch the Fire Cadets programme during a special ceremony at Sandyford Community Fire Station on Thursday, August 29.
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Pippa Gee will be attending along with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Chair Len Bloomer and Deputy Chair Kath Banks.
The High Sheriff of Staffordshire Miss S C Inge-Innes-Lillingston and Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Shelia Pitt will be in the audience among other high profile guests.
Lead instructors will be on hand to carry out displays in the drill yard as part of the event.
Development Officer for the Supporting Inclusion Programme Jess Patten said: “Staffordshire is the first brigade in the country to launch this extremely innovative scheme for young people. It aims to inspire teenagers to be disciplined and committed to achieving their aims for the future, as well as becoming well-round citizens who contribute to their community.
“The skills they will learn throughout the year-long course will not only include fire training techniques but will also help to prepare them for adult life with advice on financial planning, CV writing and team working. We are delighted once again to be leading the way in Staffordshire and look forward to providing a robust model for other brigades to follow in the future.”
The classes will run for two hours per week and will be held twice a week at Hanley Community Fire Station and once a week at Sandyford Community Fire Station.