ATCO announced today a three-year commitment to fund the County of Grande Prairie’s new Fire Cadet Program.

The program is a unique opportunity for high school students who live in the County of Grande Prairie and the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley to build confidence and develop important life skills while gaining a better understanding of firefighting as a career through classroom and hands-on learning. Students taking the one semester program, which commences at the end of January 2024, may be eligible for high school credits upon completion. Program intake is ongoing; students can enter the program at any time during the year.

“The Fire Cadet Program is an opportunity for high school students to develop skills such as leadership, discipline and collaboration,” says Shane Ellis, Vice President, District Operations, ATCO. “Partnering with the County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service reflects our commitment to youth, citizenship, community service and safety.”

Students will leave the Cadet program with the knowledge and skills to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in fire and emergency services, while others may choose to apply the skills they have developed to other meaningful careers or community service including volunteer firefighting.

“The ATCO Fire Cadet Program provides an exceptional opportunity for County youth to explore an area of interest and, potentially, professional growth,” says Regional Fire Service District Chief Matt Smith. “We are grateful for ATCO’s investment and look forward to rolling out the program next week during presentations at five area high schools.”

“At ATCO, our business goes beyond the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas and electricity – we care deeply about our communities,” says Amanda Mattern, Vice President, Operations, ATCO. “With a rich history of collaboration with Fire and Rescue services across Alberta, partnering with the County of Grande Prairie’s Fire Cadet Program is our way of investing in future generations. It’s about nurturing essential life skills in our youth, so that we can foster a better tomorrow.”  

ATCO first started supporting the Fire Cadet program within the Calgary Fire Department in 2002, recognizing youth and education, as well as community and volunteerism initiatives. Over the years, ATCO has expanded its support to other Fire Cadet programs throughout the province. The County of Grande Prairie is the first Fire Cadet program in an electric service area that ATCO has partnered with.

To apply or learn more about this rewarding opportunity for high school students aged 16 to 18, visit


Media Contacts:

Matt Smith
District Chief
County Regional Fire Service

Doris Kaufmann Woodcock
Manager, Media & Corporate Communications