MORE than 850 troubled youngsters across Herts have benefited from training with firefighters since a project started six years ago.
Under the Local Intervention Fire Education (LiFE) scheme teenagers aged 13 to 19 learn skills including hose-running, ladder-climbing and using breathing apparatus.
The latest six-strong group at Hemel Hempstead Fire Station passed out in front of friends and family by showing off what they had learnt.
One young man said: “I got put on the LiFE course because of my high level disruptiveness and apparently my low self esteem.
“The best part of the course is the team building and making friends with all of the mentors, and also the course members.
“I have learnt to do as I am told, when I am told. The discipline has made me think that I should take it home.
“The mentors have really helped me because when you can’t be bothered they give you some support and they want you to make them proud by doing your best.”
Richard Thake, cabinet chief for community safety at Herts County Council, said: “Having seen the impact of these courses over several years, I am convinced of the dramatic effect they can have on the lives of the youngsters who take part.
“These young people, and their families, should be proud of their achievements, and I hope they continue to succeed in whatever they choose to do in the future.”
Youngster are referred to the course by organisations including the police, schools, antisocial behaviour teams and youth services, as well as parents.