A celebration event was held at Northampton’s Guildhall to mark the official launch of the new Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets (NESC) scheme.
The NESC programme, which merges the existing police and fire cadet units, is believed to be the first scheme of its kind in the country to set up as an independent charity.
VIPs and invited guests from local councils and organisations including Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East Midlands Ambulance Service attended the launch, held in the Grand Hall.
NESC is aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds, to give young people the opportunity to learn new skills and take an active role in supporting the work of police, fire and ambulance staff.
More than 200 young people, within eight units across the county, are now members of NESC learning skills as diverse as First Aid and basic firefighting techniques.
The programme offers the opportunity to follow an action-packed curriculum which has, at its heart, the key skills used by emergency services.
Becoming a cadet involves a variety of activities, including taking on roles as part of disaster training operations with the emergency services, attending community events such as fun days, road safety events, the balloon festival, Silverstone Circuit events and open days.
The cadets also take part in Remembrance Day parades, assist at local rugby and football matches, attending organised trips, aiding in test purchase operations with the police.
NESC Chief Executive Ann-Marie Lawson said: “We are thrilled to have finally launched the NESC programme, which is already proving a popular choice for the young people of Northamptonshire. Young people who join the scheme are usually impressed with how action-packed the programme of activities is. It’s great for all those who are interested in an career in the emergency services and for those who want to build their confidence and CV, and to make new friends.”