A group of young people from across Berkshire have been celebrating success after they completed the Young Firefighters programme.
Young Firefighters is a 36-week course provided by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) to provide 12 to16 year olds with a range of valuable practical and theoretical skills and make a positive impact on their career paths.
This course is one of the ways in which RBFRS contributes to a broader safety, health and wellbeing agenda, as part of its mission to enable the people of Royal Berkshire to lead safe and fulfilling lives.
Councillor Christine Bateson, Lead Member for Community Safety, said: “The Young Firefighters scheme is designed to help raise the aspirations, attainment and pathways to employability for young people.
“I’m proud to see that it is making a difference. The scheme has already reached almost 500 young people and we hope to reach more across Royal Berkshire in the years ahead. Thank you to all those involved in making it a success.”
A total of 44 cadets completed this course, which was run during term time at Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Whitley Wood and Pangbourne fire stations.
The course was conducted by competent instructors from RBFRS, who set cadets a range of practical and theoretical fire service activities, including hose drills, breathing apparatus procedures and fire safety awareness sessions.
By learning and taking part in team building activities, the cadets develop their personal skills and qualities that can increase self-confidence and encourage positive thinking. It is hoped that these essential skills will benefit them as they move onto further education or their chosen career.
Tilly Pink-Costello, a Young Firefighter cadet from the Maidenhead unit said: “All the instructors are really supportive and kind. I’ve learnt so many new skills and made new friends. I would recommend it to anyone.
“It’s inspired me to want to become a firefighter when I’m older.”
At the end of the course the cadets took part in a celebratory passing out parade at RBFRS’ Whitley Wood Training Centre. They demonstrated some of the skills they had learned in front of their proud parents and received certificates from Chief Fire Officer Trevor Ferguson.
The next programme starts in September and recruitment is already underway for programmes being run at Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Whitley Wood and Newbury Fire Station. Although the course will be run at Newbury for the next year, it is planned to run the course from Hungerford for the following term.
The Whitley Wood and Crowthorne units run on Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm during term time and Maidenhead and Newbury on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm.