THE Isle of Wight's first new Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service cadets will be recruited this autumn.

The scheme is already operating in five areas across the Solent — Eastleigh, Gosport, Southsea, Rushmoor and Ringwood.

Now, for the first time since Hampshire and the Island's fire services merged, new recruits will be sought for a unit in Ryde.

The scheme will be available for teenagers aged between 13c and 17.

They will be able to complete a BTEC Level 2 in 'Fire Service in the Community', as well as a first aid qualification.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority last week, Stew Adamson, director of operations, said he was proud of the cadets currently taking part in the programmes across Hampshire and the great job they do representing the organisation.

He said the scheme is not just beneficial for the young people themselves, but for their communities, which they will serve and make safer.

In 2018, Hampshire County Council agreed to provide Hampshire Fire and Rescue with  £131,000, to expand the cadet scheme and create more units — from just one to seven, over three years.

Covid-19 hindered that progress, although cadets were taught online instead.

When existing funding runs out, in March 204, external funding will be needed to retain the cadet units and work is now underway to secure new sources of cash.

Units receive specialist cadet firefighting equipment, such as lightweight hoses, breathing apparatus sets and ladders.

Mr Adamson said the service is looking at sponsorship and is working with businesses and organisations across the regions, to provide the resources that are required.