The Mossburn Volunteer Fire Brigade is starting a cadet programme.
Senior station officer Jeff Manson said they decided to start the programme to give children in the area a chance to learn some life skills.
“It’s just a way to give children a chance to have a look at something they could make a career out of,” Mr Manson said.
Even if they did not decide to become a firefighter, there would be other skills they would learn from the programme, he said.
“They might decide they like the first aid side of things and join St John.”
The cadet programme had been something he had wanted to run for a while, but it had to meet WorkSafe rules.
“It’s been a bit of work.
“It has to be very structured to work.”
Children taking part in the programme would get an overview of how the station was run, Mr Manson said.
“They will learn about the structure of Fire and Emergency New Zealand service and learn and understand the skills volunteers need.
“We want to teach them the properties of fire and give them an understanding of everything we do.”
It would not be all theory though, he said.
“They will do hose and water training,” Mr Manson said.
“We will get them involved with training as much as we can.”
The cadets, who would be aged between 12 and 15, would train at the station weekly, Mr Manson said.
“They will train separately to the volunteers and will be supervised by two dedicated officers.”
At the age of 16 teens could join as volunteer firefighters, he said.
“It would be great if we had some cadets who wanted to join once they turned 16, but that isn’t our goal.”
The goal was to give the children life skills and structure that they could take with them into a career, Mr Manson said.
He thought it was important to have a programme like this in a small community.
“We used to have the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade, but the closest thing we have now is Scouts in Balfour.
“We wanted to give youth the opportunity to get involved,” he said.
“We want them to be able to do something and enjoy it.”
The programme would also teach children what it was like to be in a structured environment outside school, Mr Manson said.
He would organise an interview with each child and their parents to make sure they understood what the programme involved, Mr Manson said.
The cadet programme would start as soon as there were enough cadets, he said.
The programme had been run past the area manager, who was in full support, Mr Manson said.