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School pupils distinguish themselves in Young Firefighters programme

A group of Royal Berkshire’s ambitious young people 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 equip 12 to 16 year olds with a host of valuable practical and theoretical skills which boost their confidence, community engagement and career prospects.

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.

A total of 38 cadets completed the course, which ran during term-time at Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Whitley Wood and Newbury fire stations.

The cadets get the opportunity to try out an array of fire service activities conducted by enthusiastic instructors from RBFRS. These range from the more practical hose drills and breathing apparatus procedures, to the more theoretical fire safety awareness sessions.

By learning and participating in team building activities the cadets develop their personal skills, whilst also getting to experience the family-spirit of the firefighting community.

The scheme is sure to leave the young people in good stead as they progress to further education or their chosen career.

Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority said: “Raising the aspirations, attainment and pathways to employability of young people is at the heart of The Young Firefighters scheme. It also encourages all the young firefighters to embrace the “public service” ethic, which is central in all that we do at RBFRS.”

“It is incredibly rewarding to see the difference it is making. The scheme has already reached several hundred young people across Berkshire and we anticipate that it will only continue to expand. Thank you to the staff, volunteers, young people and parents who all make Young Firefighters such a success.”

Sophie, a Young Firefighter cadet from the Maidenhead unit, was quick to praise the programme: “I’ve gained confidence because Young Firefighters has pushed me outside of my comfort zone by doing things that, without this programme, I wouldn’t have been able to do. I know a lot more about the fire service now.”

At the end of the course the cadets took part in a celebratory passing out parade at RBFRS’ Dee Road Fire Station. They demonstrated some of the many 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 Stations.

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.

Anyone interested in joining the Young Firefighters programme can contact the relevant scheme the scheme below or visit our website.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) provides cover 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from 18 fire stations across the county. Highly-trained fire crews deal with incidents ranging from road and rail accidents to fuel and chemical spills, aviation and waterway accidents, collapsed buildings, large animal rescues and, of course, fires.

Along with providing a swift and effective response to incidents, RBFRS works with schools, businesses, residents and community groups throughout Berkshire to educate people on how to prevent fire and other emergencies.

RBFRS is under the direction of a combined Royal Berkshire Fire Authority – which is made up of representatives from the county’s six unitary authorities.