Young unemployed housing tenants have learned new skills on a course run by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Aster Communities in Devizes teamed up with Selwood Housing in Trowbridge to commission a Salamander course for 16 young tenants who are unemployed.

Salamander was originally designed to steer young people away from anti-social behaviour. Those taking part tackle challenges based on basic firefighter training, which helps to build self-esteem and develop leadership and communication skills.

The collaboration with Aster and Selwood has the same focus, but it is also hoped it will act as a stepping stone to future success and employment.

The three-week course allows time for the participants to gain nationally recognised qualifications in first aid, health and safety and food safety, which can be used on job application forms and at interviews.

There are also five days of ‘practical’ work at the fire stations, with firefighter instructors from Devizes, Trowbridge and Warminster.

A pass-out parade is held at the end of the three weeks, allowing the participants to demonstrate their new skills in front of family, friends, housing association officials and senior fire officers.

Salamander co-ordinator Dawn Whiting said: “We’ve been running a number of successful courses for Job Centre Plus and, as a result, we were approached by Aster and Selwood to deliver a course for tenants aged from 17 to their 30s who have struggled to find work.

“This is the first Salamander to be hosted at Devizes Fire Station”.