About the Fire Services Youth Training Association

The Fire Services Youth Training Association (FSYTA) is a registered charity (No. 1062910) set up to support member fire and rescue services to further their work with children and young people.

FSYTA is the largest fire and rescue sector association in the UK established solely for the benefit of young people and the fire and rescue services working with them.

Fire Cadets

The FSYTA is dedicated to encouraging Fire & Rescue Services of positive engagement with young people and the value of offering educational opportunities

The values and behaviours within the positive Fire & Rescue Service culture can offer young people the chance to improve their self confidence, develop their communication skills and work as a team within a disciplined environment.

The FSYTA aims to assist in the development of existing youth engagement programmes and supports various schemes around the United Kingdom with the intention of sharing examples of good practice and provide information, advice and guidance in order to support all Fire & Rescue Services in their work with young people. In addition, the FSYTA produces qualifications and accreditations in response to needs identified by member Services and aims to enhance the experience of young people through recognised educational outcomes.

As a complement to work within the UK, the FSYTA is committed to building international relationships, encouraging developing nations to form their own youth engagement schemes and promoting overseas visits for young people which provide them with positive and meaningful experiences.

The History of the FSYTA

The first Fire Cadet scheme in the UK was begun by Dr Kurt Hahn, founder of Gordonstoun School, Elgin, in 1942. Kurt Hahn was a less than traditional educationalist. He believed the scholars at his school should make a positive contribution to the community they were a part of. Consequently, he founded a volunteer fire brigade, a coastguard and a mountain rescue group to support existing groups within the local area.

Interestingly, the Cadet corps of 1942 was actually formed in Powys, Wales when the school was relocated due to wartime hostilities. The volunteer fire brigade at the school, now back at Elgin, still act as back up to the Lossiemouth Fire Station; however, members, who must be at least 16 to attend fires, cannot wear breathing apparatus.

In 1984 a group of young scouts began to attend Wymondham Fire Station in Norfolk. As a result they formed an ad hoc unit which was appreciated by the brigade but not formally incorporated within it. The group entered a team of over 16 year old members in the Norfolk Pump Drills in the mid – 80’s.

Following the inner city riots of 1985 in Birmingham, West Midlands Fire Service reviewed a 1983 report which had proposed a fire cadet scheme for 11 – 16 year olds. A single unit, directly supported by the brigade, was piloted in May 1987 at Aston Fire Station, Birmingham under the name Young Firefighters Association. This proved so successful that by 1989 all 5 Divisions of the brigade had at least one unit. Word of the organisation spread via CACFOA (now CFOA), and GMC and Tyne and Wear were instrumental in establishing groups as part of a nationwide organisation.

By 1995 enough brigades had Cadet or YFA groups to warrant the founding of a national self help support group. The interested parties met over an early summer weekend in the West Midlands to form the Fire Services Youth Training Association. Now, with 90% of UK fire brigades, including non-local authority brigades, as members – the rest, as they say, is history.

2015 sees the FSYTA celebrating its 20th Year supporting Fire and Rescue Services in their fantastic work engaging with young people in their communities. Over the past 20 years, the FSYTA has developed and grown as an association, being the largest Fire and Rescue sector association in the UK established solely for the benefit of young people, and the Fire and Rescue Services working with them.

As a member of the FSYTA, there are a number of ways that we can support your Service in its work with young people. Below are just a few examples:



At the request of the membership, the FSYTA overhauled qualifications available for young people working within the Fire and Rescue sector, and in 2008, working with a group from member Fire and Rescue Services, produced the Pearson BTEC Level 2 Award, Certificate and Diploma in Fire and Rescue Services in the Community. This is a three in one qualification, and was designed to suit short, medium and long term engagement programmes running by Fire and Rescue Services across the UK. There are 20 Fire and Rescue Services registered to deliver BTEC courses through the FSYTA’s approved centre status, with around 750 young people taking on this qualification every year. Many of these young people are achieving a tangible educational outcome from attending a Fire and Rescue Service programme that would otherwise have been unavailable to them


Training and Development

Over the past few years, the FSYTA has re-examined its approach to training and development for Fire and Rescue Service Staff and Volunteers working with and engaging with young people. In order to enable us as an association to support member Fire and Rescue Services in the best possible way, we established the FSYTA National Training Team in 2014. This Training Team consists of Fire and Rescue Service personnel from across the UK who volunteer to deliver training packages to member Fire and Rescue Services. All members of the National Training Team hold a PTLLS Qualification or equivalent, with a number of them currently serving as Trainers within their own Learning and Development/Training Centre departments within their home Services.

The FSYTA are currently able to offer the following training courses to member Fire and Rescue Services:

  • BTEC Assessor Training
  • BTEC Verifier Training
  • Drill Yard Supervision Training for Non-Operational Instructors
  • Drill Yard Supervision Train the Trainer Course
  • Safeguarding Children: Key Skills for Ambulance, Fire and Rescue Services


National and International Opportunities

The FSYTA now work in close partnership with the Firefighters Memorial Trust, and with the support of our member Fire and Rescue Services are able to play a pivotal role in the organisation of the yearly International Services of Thanksgiving and Remembrance held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and the National Firefighters Memorial in London.

Bi-annual National Camps are hosted by the FSYTA which allow Services from across the UK and beyond to bring together young people and raise awareness within the groups as to the work happening with young people outside of their own Service. This is a marvellous opportunity for young people to develop their social skills and work with young people from different backgrounds and cultures. At these camps there are a number of competitions, as well as fun activities for both the young people and Instructors alike. In the alternate years, the FSYTA also supports any Services which may wish to attend the CTIF International Young Firefighters Games, and teams are submitted to represent Great Britain following International Selection at National Camp, with the next Games being held this summer in Poland.

The FSYTA also supports young people to represent Great Britain at the CTIF International Youth Forum for Youth Fire Brigade members. The International Youth Forum gives young people from our member Services the chance to experience the differences between schemes run in the UK and other European countries, and the opportunity to engage with young people from a diverse range of cultures.


Fire Cadets

The FSYTA have been leading the way since 2006 in the development of Fire Cadets. This is now a nationally recognised Fire Cadet scheme that is accessible through the FSYTA. National Fire Cadets provides a consistent and sustainable delivery mechanism to engage with young people over a long term intervention, and is available for member Fire and Rescue Services to deliver within the communities they serve. Fire Cadets provides young people with various skills throughout, including teamwork, problem solving and communication, as well as activities which prepare young people for adult life by teaching them about healthy living, handling money, job application skills and community projects.

National Fire Cadets was developed over many years and in consultation with, and taking notable practice from, over 24 Fire and Rescue Services across the UK. The scheme comes with a full National Framework for the setting up and running of a Fire Cadet Unit, a suite of Lesson Plans and Resources to support delivery of sessions, and example Risk Assessments for the practical activities completed on a unit. Alongside the delivery element of the programme come preferential rates for uniform and equipment for Services that are running recognised National Fire Cadet Units, including a National Uniform for Cadets and Volunteer Instructors alike. National Fire Cadet Units are running in over 20 Fire and Rescue Services across the UK, with more showing an interest every month.


We hope this brief summary gives you a flavour of the expanding and dynamic role which the FSYTA takes, to support Fire and Rescue Services working with young people. The membership of the Association is open to any youth training scheme operated by or allied to, the fire service within the United Kingdom which has paid the annual subscription.  If you wish to become a member of the FSYTA, please contact the FSYTA Executive through the ‘get in touch’ section of this website.

What is Fire Cadets?


“Come join Cadets, you’ll have no regrets. Meet new people, we’re all treated equal. Experience being a young firefighter. Meet new people and get a great qualification. Learn new skills and boost your confidence. Come join Cadets, you’ll have no regrets!”

Members of the National Fire Cadets Youth Forum

Beaudesert – February 2013



Fire Cadets is a long term educational programme open to young people aged 13 to 18 years old. Each unit operates at a local Fire Station for a minimum of 1 year, with young people usually attending one evening per week, for two hours.

Cadets working towards their BTEC

The programme syllabus is designed to be modular, divided into topics and subject areas with the additional benefit of being aligned to the accredited and nationally recognised qualification; Edexcel BTEC Level 2 in Fire & Rescue Services in the Community. This will provide young people the potential to achieve a tangible educational outcome as a result of participating in a Fire & Rescue Service programme.

Fire Cadets provides young people with various skills throughout, including teamwork, problem solving and communication, as well as activities which prepare young people for adult life by teaching them about healthy living, handling money, job application techniques and community projects. Some young people will then have the opportunity to stay on with a cadet unit and become a Junior Instructor, with the further opportunity to become a Volunteer Cadet Instructor after the age of 18 years old.

Fire Cadets is open to all young people from a mix of backgrounds representative of the local community. The programme is designed to reduce antisocial behaviour in the local area by enhancing key citizenship skills in young people through a structured and varied range of Fire & Rescue Service-led activities. Cadets will gain the confidence to interact with their community and become ambassadors, teaching people the importance of fire safety and the consequences of anti-social behaviour like arson and making hoax 999 calls.


Aims of Fire Cadets:

A Nationally recognised Fire and Rescue Service Programme for young people to benefit their community

  1. Provide the opportunity to learn about, engage with and experience the Fire and Rescue Service
  2. Support young people to make a positive contribution to society
  3. Enable young people to gain skills, knowledge and positive experiences in a fun, safe and secure environment
  4. Support young people to develop life skills, increase confidence and raise self-esteem
  5. Inspire young people to make positive life choices for their futures


Fire Cadets is delivered by a team of specially recruited Fire Cadet Instructors, people who come from all walks of life. Whilst a high proportion of our Instructors are operational Firefighters, a large number of Instructors are also from many differing backgrounds. These include ex-Service men and women, outdoor expedition leaders, teachers, bus drivers, shop assistants, radio presenters … the list is endless! Anyone can become a Fire Cadet Instructor providing they have the right motivation and passion to work with and develop young people. If you are interested in becoming a Fire Cadet Instructor with your local Fire and Rescue Service, register your interest on the ‘Get Involved!’ page.

Emergency Services Cadets (ESC)


Emergency Services Cadets 07Emergency Services Cadets (ESC) is an after-school club set in primary schools where a programme of activities is delivered by cadets for cadets and supported by school staff. Run jointly by the Fire, Police and St John Ambulance services, the aim is to engage the children in positive organised activities at an early age, delivering key safety messages whilst building their confidence and encouraging them to become socially active citizens and potential members of other established uniformed youth groups as they grow up.

This unique cadet programme runs over the course of an academic year and offers young people in their last year at primary school an opportunity to learn skills before they face the transition to secondary school. The 39 week syllabus is designed to be engaging and challenging and is built around three scenarios for each term; a house fire, a road traffic collision and a crime scene investigation.  There is a disciplined approach to the activities, replicating that of the three services.

The ESC cadets learn key safety messages, develop practical skills and important life skills such as basic first aid, fire escape plans and how to make a 999 call.  The peer leaders develop confidence in their own knowledge and abilities and act as valuable role models to the younger cadets.  The end of each term culminates with a demonstration of theirs skills and a small presentation in front of parents and representatives from local services.

This section will be coming soon and will introduce you to:

FSYTA Executive

Emergency Service Cadets Team