* A course that aims to change young people’s attitudes while boosting their self-esteem is currently marking its 10th year.
Fire Academy is a joint project between Angus Council’s Community Learning and Development Services Youth Team, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Tayside Council on Alcohol and Police Scotland.
The Academy offers young people the opportunity to take part in a very specific programme to help them change their attitudes to fire safety and antisocial behaviour while also promoting personal safety.
And the latest group of young people to successfully complete the academy received their certificates last week after staging a display of what they had learned for their parents as well as partner organisations and local councillors.
The young people, aged between 11 and 16, attended a fairly intensive three-day course in the Angus glens where they were taught a number of skills including hose running, pumping from open water, first aid, moving smoke and darkness, moving in confined spaces and basic procedures used by the fire service when dealing with road traffic collisions.
Since it began, 100 young people have passed through the course which Jennifer Miller, Angus Council’s communities manager, said had helped to improve the behaviour of most.
She said: “These are young people who have maybe been involved in antisocial behaviour and we definitely see a reduction in that after Fire Academy. Taking them out of their usual environment is what works and, as one mentor said, it’s probably the best experience they’ve had.
“We run one, sometimes two courses if we have extra funding and we’re hoping to extend the programme with the same group this year. We’re looking at bringing in an employability aspect as some come out saying they want to follow a career in fire and rescue.”