September 20 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 2, 2014
A group of young people have learned what it takes to be a firefighter – and along the way picked up some life skills which will equip them for the future.
The fire cadets spent an evening a week for a year at Ilford fire station in High Road, Ilford, and last week were overjoyed to be awarded an Edexcel Level 2 BTEC in fire and rescue services in the community.
Youth engagement co-ordinator and cadet leader, Nikki Shirley, said: “The BTEC is a great way of learning valuable life skills as well as getting experience in a great profession.
“The course is not just for teens who want to become firefighters. It’s for anyone who wants to develop new skills and to mix with other people who you can relate to when doing this course and hopefully make some really good friends out of it.”
The BTEC is designed for those aged 14-18, and at the end of the course they receive a certificate or diploma to show they have the qualification.
The scheme is run by Ilford firefighters, as well as non-operational staff from the brigade and community volunteers.
Nikki said: “The course is very practical as you learn drills, but it is so much more than that because you get a really good experience working with the people at the station as well.”
The community fire cadets scheme is one of three for young people. The others are Local Intervention Fire Education (Life), an intense five-day course that teaches the role of the firefighter, and the Juvenile Firesetters Intervention Scheme (JFIS), where parents and carers are taught how to address children with firesetting behaviour.
But teenagers can only get involved with the fire cadets scheme if they are referred by either their school, an agency or another organisation, so the 10 cadets were hand-picked to take part in the unique training programme.
For Clayton Salibar, 16, of Burrow Road, Hainault, the scheme put him back on the straight and narrow after a rocky time at school.
He said: “I didn’t have a lot of respect for adults and I wanted to just do my own thing.
“But since I came here I have adjustered my attitude and now I see things differently thanks to becoming a cadet.”
The cadets have now achieved their qualification and their efforts were recognised with a passing out parade last week where they all spoke about their achievements since taking part in the programme.
Borough Commander for Redbridge, Steve Brown said: “The passing out parade for the Redbridge cadets is the culmination of eight months’ hard work and dedication by all concerned.
“I am extremely proud of our cadets – they are a credit to themselves.
They have represented the borough at a number of community events throughout the year and always conducted themselves in an exemplary manner.
“I would also like to recognise the work undertaken by their team of trainers and volunteers – without their dedication and commitment the unit would not have succeeded.”