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Fire Cadets become Firefighters

Two fire cadets are set to join the Service as fully fledged firefighters after completing  their initial training last Friday.

Jack Coates and Jack Blackman were both on the first ever Fire Cadet course to be run by ECFRS, based at Clacton Fire Station, and are now they are set to join the dedicated crew of on-call firefighters at Wivenhoe.

This isn’t the first success story to come out of the ECFRS Cadet and Young Firefighter programmes though as the Community Development Team have a number of former students currently serving as firefighters within Essex and London.

Fire Cadets uses fire service training and discipline to teach teenagers the skills  needed to become a firefighter and a role model within their community. The course, which lasts up to three years, also gives cadets the opportunity to earn the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Former Cadet Jack Coates said: “The course was great, we got to learn so much about the fire service as well as push ourselves and learn new life skills. On top of that in the first two years I’d completed  the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards.

“I’m now in my third  year as a fire cadet and I’m getting close to completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award..

“The course has been really interesting and I have loved every minute of being a fire cadet. It has been an excellent way to learn about the fire Service and an opportunity to get my foot in the door of a career I have always wanted.”

Jack Blackman echoed those comments. He said: “It had always been my ambition to become a firefighter so when I got the call inviting me on the first fire cadets course at Clacton I didn’t have to think twice, I wanted to be a firefighter and so that was it, I knew I wanted to sign up straight away.

“Fire cadets has been great, it has given me an incredible grounding and understanding around  what it takes to become a firefighter. We learned about the equipment, the discipline and so much more. There is nothing like it when it comes to getting the experience you need in the fire service.

“I also did a Public Service course at college but in terms of practical learning you could pick up more in a couple of hours on the cadet course than I could on a whole week at college.”

Both Jack’s got the chance to fulfil their ambition when they heard there vacancies at Wivenhoe Fire Station. Once they started their two week on-call firefighter course both found that all the training they had done as cadets was coming in useful.

“When Jack and I started the On-Call firefighter course you could tell straight away that we already had an understanding about what was required of us,” said Jack Blackman. “We already knew some of the instructors from cadets and we were both used to being on the yard and carrying out drills in the way that they expected.

“In that way Fire Cadets is like a pre-course for becoming a firefighter, and I’ve not had another experience like it.”

Jack Coates added: “Everything I had learned as a fire cadet really helped when it came to the course so becoming a fire cadet has helped me achieve my ambition. When I look back I’m so glad I joined because it has led me here and now I’m on the verge of becoming an on-call firefighter.”

Looking back both agree that joining fire cadets has proven to be a fantastic decision and that it’s thanks to the experience and help given on the course that has lead them  join the crew at Wivenhoe Fire Station.

Jack Coates said: “I would recommend fire cadets to anyone, even if you don’t want a career in the fire service. It has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. You get to learn new things, push yourself and make new friends at the same time.”

Jack Blackman said: “I would 100% recommend fire cadets to anyone, it has been a fantastic experience and I am sure that without the support from the instructors, who continually made us aware of the opportunities available within the service, I would not be on the brink of achieving my ambition of becoming a firefighter .  I would recommend it to anyone, it’s fantastic.

“We have both completed our two week training course and now we have to go along on Wednesday evenings for the next ten weeks to complete our training. Hopefully in about four weeks’ time we’ll be passed to ride with the crew and then we’ll be going to our first incident.”

Karl Amoss, Fire Cadet Programme Lead, praised the dedication shown by the two cadets: “It is always fantastic to see the positive outcomes achieved through the cadet programmes with whatever our cadets choose to go on to do.

“However we feel especially proud to see them join our Service as firefighters. It’s testament to the hard work and dedication shown by both Jack’s that they now find themselves entering into an operational career with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

“The work ethic and attitude that they both displayed through their cadet training, and continue to display to this day, are truly inspirational to the cadets currently completing their training. I speak for both myself and the other instructors when I say we will all be proud to serve alongside them.”

To find out more about fire cadets, and complete an application to join the scheme visit the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website here

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