We get a LOT of questions here at FRS Development from new applicants to the Fire Service, who feel a little confused by the first steps they need to take to fulfil their dream of becoming a firefighter.
This is nothing to worry about – the application process for the UK Fire Service for wholetime firefighter positions is tough, there’s no doubt about it! This is further complicated by the fact that every FRS has a slightly different application procedure.
We’ve compiled the top 3 questions we get asked, to help set your mind at ease a little!
Why can’t I find an application form online?!
There are usually two main reasons for this.
Firstly, applicants often search for their local fire station when looking for job openings, rather than the areas main FRS itself. For example, if you live in Brighton you would have to apply under the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, rather to one of the Brighton-area fire stations themselves!
Similarly, applicants in Scotland apply through the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website, regardless of their location in the country.
The other reason why you might be finding it difficult to find an application or job posting is that most FRSs have annual recruitment drives, and recruitment is only open for a limited time (to get round this, take a look at our recruitment alert text message service). Links to an online application form will ONLY be available when recruitment for wholetime firefighter positions is open.
For details on the individual processes of different FRSs take a browse through our selection of recruitment guides, which we’re constantly updating and adding to!
I have a criminal record – can I still apply?!
In general, the answer to this is yes – you are free to apply if you wish, and your conviction may not necessarily hamper your chances of progressing in the application process.
An FRS will consider each application on its own merits, and applicants on their experiences and how closely they match the role-related criteria and job requirements.
A lot will depend on the nature of your conviction, and how much time has passed since it happened. Your behaviour and life/ work experience since then will also be taken into consideration, as well as your character and attitude.
I don’t have good GCSE passes/formal qualifications – will I be accepted?!
While applications will state that they expect you to be educated to GCSE level, having the ‘paper’ qualifications usually isn’t a necessity.
Again, the FRS you apply to will take other elements such as your character, skills gained from previous employment, and work and life experience into consideration too.
However, you will be expected to have a certain level of competency in Maths and English in both in order to pass the psychometric ability tests in the assessment process and to fulfil your duties as a firefighter.
Bear in mind that some FRSs are stricter than others however – there are a few that stipulate you must have a qualification at GCSE level or equivalent in Maths and English to apply. Some FRSs will let you sit a competency test as part of the process to determine your capabilities in this area.