Young Firefighters delight at annual graduation ceremony

Young Firefighters graduation ceremony 2019
Photo: Sue McIntosh

On 10 July, Young Firefighters from across the County showed off their new skills at an annual graduation ceremony.

Young Firefighters is an initiative which encourages young people, between the ages of 12-16, to experience what being a firefighter involves. The course is an opportunity for young people to develop new life skills, through taking part in fire and rescue service activities.

The course runs for 36 weeks, with young people learning and participating in team building exercises. The course also enables young people to enjoy their time working within a supportive community of peers and friendly instructors from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

44 recruits graduated at the ceremony, each from either the Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Newbury or Whitley Wood units. Each group also performed their own graduation drills, which involved scenarios such as vehicle and domestic ‘fires’ and a coloured foam display.

Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, who attended the ceremony, said: “The Young Firefighters programme delivers on the Fire Authority’s commitment to contribute to a broader safety, health and wellbeing agenda, whilst also equipped young people with valuable interpersonal skills and increasing their self-confidence.

This year, the programme will have been delivered to over 500 young people since its inception – a truly incredible achievement and one which I am delighted to be a part of. Well done to all the graduates.”

Feedback from this year’s cohort has been very positive, with our young people commenting that they really enjoyed the challenging nature of the programme, with every week encouraging different skills such as team work and fitness. They also commented on how varied the programme is. This year’s recruits were surprised by the wide range of activities, which included sports and first aid training.

The Young Firefighters programme is a brilliant opportunity for young people to learn skills such as self-reliance, leadership and decision making, alongside learning about fire safety and performing firefighter activities.

Recruitment for the 2020 Young Firefighters programme is already underway, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of the course. For more information about Young Firefighters, please visit: rbfrs.co.uk/YoungFirefighters.