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A group of youngsters have just finished a week of learning how to be firefighters to help them turn their lives around.

They were taking part in the Herts Fire and Rescue Service Life scheme for troubled 13 to 19-year-olds, which was held this week at Hemel Hempstead Fire Station.

Young people taking part in the Life course by Herts Fire and Rescue Service.

Young people taking part in the Life course by Herts Fire and Rescue Service.

Participants are referred to take part in the project by the police, their schools, families and others.

It is funded by Herts County Council and costs £550 for each young person to take part. There are 10 courses each year – two for each district of the county, including Dacorum.

The programme has been running since November 2006 and more than 1,500 young people have taken part in it. It teaches them skills in discipline and teamwork, as well as the practical skills used regularly by their trainers – who are actual firefighters.

Course manager Nigel Harden said: “We work with them on the troubles they have got at the moment in their life, and hopefully we help them turn those problems around and go out with a fresh start.”