A pioneering project that will see young people training with fire crews and learning vital life skills is to be rolled out into Newcastle.
"We are extremely proud of the Fire Cadets scheme which has seen Staffordshire yet again leading the way on a national stage. Fire services across the country have been watching us very closely to see how the initiative, which is the first of the new-style cadet schemes, is progressing so that they can learn from our example of best practice."
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was the first in the country to run a new national Fire Cadets programme which was launched last September.
The initiative was trialled at Hanley and Sandyford community fire stations and has proved to be hugely popular with more than 30 14-17-year-olds currently taking part.
It will now benefit an additional 14 young people who will train at Newcastle Community Fire Station from February 22. The sessions will take place from 9.30am-1pm on Saturdays.
Participants will learn operational skills such as hose running, water drills, breathing apparatus and casualty extraction.
They will also be taught life skills including healthy living, how to handle money and job application techniques during the course, which will run until the end of the academic year.
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.
Councillors Margaret Astle, Len Bloomer, Mark Deaville, Sandra Hambleton, David Loades, Mark Olszewski, Simon Tagg and John Taylor have supported the initiative by allocating nearly £9,000 of Staffordshire County Council’s Local Community Fund. Youth United Foundation has also contributed £4,500.
The initiative is supported by Department for Communities and Local Government, Chief Fire Officers’ Association and Fire Services’ Youth Training Association.
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: "We are extremely proud of the Fire Cadets scheme which has seen Staffordshire yet again leading the way on a national stage. Fire services across the country have been watching us very closely to see how the initiative, which is the first of the new-style cadet schemes, is progressing so that they can learn from our example of best practice.
"The young people who were part of the launch have really excelled since September and we are looking forward to rolling the course out in Newcastle and in other districts as time goes on. The Fire Cadets have really given it their all and, in return, are learning some valuable skills that will undoubtedly help them to achieve great things in the future, both in their careers and in life generally."
Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Len Bloomer, who organised the funding, said: “The Fire Cadets scheme is absolutely first class and instils the importance of discipline, respect for yourself and for others and ambition in young people. It also gives them an insight and appreciation into the difficult role that firefighters carry out on a daily basis in order to protect the community.
"The courses in Sandyford and Hanley that launched the project have proved to be an overwhelming success and the young people are a credit to themselves and to the Service."