TEENAGERS are invited to sign up to their local fire service as young cadets.

Bolton Central Fire Station is launching a cadet scheme for 14 and 15-years-olds, and it is hoped the scheme will reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

Community Fire Cadets is a two-year educational programme run by firefighters and volunteers for two hours one evening a week.

Teenagers will learn new skills and leave with a qualification.

Ian Bailey, Bolton borough manager, said: “We’ve successfully run a cadet scheme at Farnworth Fire Station for many years and we’re now expanding that to our central location in the borough.

“We’re looking for young people from a range of backgrounds and the idea of the programme is to enhance their key citizenship skills and instill in them the values of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service — at the same time reducing anti-social behaviour and crime.

“Cadets gives young people a real sense of being part of a team. It builds their confidence and motivation, helps them to develop pride in their communities and equips them with skills for life.”

There are also opportunities to become a junior instructor or volunteer.

Caitlin Alcock, aged 17, who works in prevention and protection administration started as a cadet at Farnworth, said: “I’ve wanted to be involved with the fire and rescue service since I was nine, after my 19-year-old cousin died in an accident when a metal drum he was cutting caught fire at a factory.

“After hearing about what the firefighters did to try to save him, I was determined to work for GMFRS, and I became a cadet at Farnworth as soon as I was old enough.

“It gave me such a confidence boost and I learned so much from the firefighters. And, thanks to the support of GMFRS, I’ve been able to progress to becoming a paid employee for the service and I really enjoy my job.”

She added: “I would recommend any young person to go on the cadet course — you learn so much, gain so many skills and give yourself a better chance at getting a job at the end.”

Anyone interested in joining the Bolton Central cadet scheme should send their details to bolton&wigan@manchesterfire.gov.uk or call 01204 905 127.

Go here for more information.