Some applicants to the Fire Service may have dreamt of becoming a firefighter from a relatively young age, and therefore applied immediately after finishing formal education. However other, more mature applicants could be considering a move into this career at a much later stage.
Sometimes concerns about both age and dated formal qualifications (or a lack of these) may stop potential candidates from even applying.
Are there age limitations on applying?
The minimum age for application is 18, and although some FRS’s do have an upper age limit (this will be listed in the job description in the post) the majority do not.
It is actually illegal to discriminate against an applicant on the basis of their age, but another reason for recruitment to consider older candidates is that many of these applicants possess attributes such as a range of life and work experiences, a mature outlook and a strong work ethic.
Qualifications Vs. Experience
The desired qualifications differ slightly across the different FRS’s. You’ll be expected to have a reasonable level of literacy and mathematics skills, but many FRS’s will provide testing in these areas during the application process for candidates who do not have the ‘paper’ qualifications.
However, your previous life and work experiences are incredibly important to the recruitment panel’s decision of whether to employ you or not.
The chances are that you could already prove your abilities in these areas by quoting examples from past experience. It’s simply a matter of learning how to present the information in the correct way.
How will I fit in as a ‘mature’ candidate?
You may feel apprehensive about how you will fit in on both the training courses and further on in your employment – however the reality is that all of the candidates will be ‘in the same boat’ so to speak! The fact that you are all going through the process at the same time will be a bonding process in itself.
It’s also natural to worry about being a little ‘rusty’ when it comes to learning new things, especially if it has been a while since you have left formal education or done any type of training.
However the specific themes of the training will be new to all of the candidates, and there is absolutely no reason why you should find it any more difficult than the younger members of the group.
You may even find that your experiences and the confidence that can come with this means that you are a source of support for the younger candidates in the group.
A final thought…
Sometimes life in general has a habit of getting in the way of making our goals a reality, and sometimes concerns and a lack of self-confidence can put a stop on things too.
However it truly does not make sense to give up on following your aspirations to become a firefighter if this means a lot to you – after all people are now employed for a much longer period of their lives than in generations past. So surely it is best to spend this time in a career that is important to you!