RURAL Metro in conjunction with Gauteng based company Advanced Fire Suppression Technologies (FST) recently held a project selecting five females for a learnership programme involving firefighting detection and suppression systems at Ward 32. The project seeks to focus on education, youth and female development and environmental sustainability and targets previously disadvantaged communities. Assisted by local councillor Shawn Adkins, who assisted with facilitation of the recruitment process by soliciting applications through the local community, the project aimed to:• Provide access to learning for the unemployed and those who are not in education, employment and training• Promote skills and development in the communities• Promote employability for the youth•Eradicate poverty for the poor communities•And lastly, to enhance social cohesion50 females participated collectively and were put through rigorous physical tests as well as medical and literacy assessments applicable to firefighting.Of the 50, five of the strongest participants overall were selected and will now undergo six months of theory and practical training at the Rural Metro Training Academy in Greytown and then a further six month experiential learning at the Rural Metro Fire Stations through South Africa. Managing director of Rural Metro and resident of ward 32 Chris Gilbert said that the ward held a special place in his heart and that he grew up there and this is why he chose this ward to give back to. “I live here so I see the poverty that is present here, therefore, I decided to choose this ward for this project,” said Gilbert. Councillor Adkins said that the recent recruitment of interns in the field of fire in collaboration with Rural Metro serves as an excellent example of the potential for private and public partnerships. “These young people now have a bright future ahead of them. Indeed, we owe it to our youth to create opportunities for them that releases their full potential,” said Adkins.