So you’ve started the new school year, but you know already the only career for you is Firefighting – how can you go about making your Firefighter dream a reality?
You might not be able to apply until you’re 18 (or almost 18 for some FRSs). But there are things you can do in the meantime to help really improve your changes of getting through the application and recruitment process!
The Fire Cadets
Why not check to see if your local station runs the Fire Cadets programme? Generally this runs during term-time, at evenings and weekends, and offers young people insight into working in the Fire Service.
There’s a range of hands-on activities that promote self-discipline, team work and community spirit! You can also gain awards and work towards achieving a recognised BTEC qualification.
Essentially Fire Cadets are trainee firefighters, learning the basic skills required and participating in activity around your local Fire Station. You’ll get a uniform and fire kit (which you’ll be responsible for taking will good care of!) and will be expected to attend a weekly drill night.
You’ll also get chance to take part in a range of outdoor activities, camps, trips and lots more!
Experiences and Awards
Have you thought about completing an award like the well known Duke of Edinburgh award? If your aged between 16 and 24 and want to have some fantastic experiences, build your skills and have a recognised award that looks great on CVs and applications then this is a great one to go for! programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, leads to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
There are four sections to complete in the DofE award at Bronze and Silver levels, and five at Gold (which includes a residential activity). All activities involve community work, work that benefits the environment, working on your health and fitness, completing an expedition which you’ll plan and train for yourself, and more!
You can build on essential skills and attributes for work and life like as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and determination – all great for a Firefighter role!
Volunteer and Part-Time work
Anything that gets you working with the public is great! This could involve charity or paid work, volunteering for an organisation like St John’s Ambulance or The Red Cross, or helping out with your community Covid effort.
All of this experience can be used as evidence on your firefighter application of how you could be a great fir for the role – it’s just a case of picking out the skills you’ve gained to make it relevant!
Working on your Fitness
Fitness is an integral part of the recruitment process, and it’s never too early to get started with building on your personal fitness levels.
The physical and fitness testing for the Uk Fire and Rescue Service is TOUGH. It’s not just a case of hitting the gym a few weeks before, you need to work at it. Being a firefighter is an incredibly physical job, and if you don’t pass the fitness tests or meet the required standard, you’ll be asked to leave the recruitment process.
A mixture of strength and cardio training is the way to go here.
Can’t Swim? Time to Learn!
Your local FRS may have the requirement to pass a swimming test – this is because firefighters may be expected to assist in water rescues as part of their duties. If you can’t swim, or aren’t confident, this is the perfect time to do something about it!
Swimming is also great for your fitness, and the more you practice, the more confident you’ll become. Many councils and local authorities offer great discounted rates for young people and students at community pools.
Get behind the Wheel!
You’ll need a driving licence to be a Firefighter. Probably you can’t wait to get started with learning! But again it’s a case of the sooner the better with this if you want to pursue a firefighter career.
Some FRSs will let you apply with a provisional, on the condition that you’ll have passed your test and got your full licence by the time you complete your training. However this is putting a lot of pressure on you to pass, and if you don’t, it may put your dreams on hold.
The service you’re applying to will help you with the necessary large vehicle licences – al you need is a standard UK car driving licence!
Concentrate on your English and Maths Qualifications.
While paper qualifications aren’t absolutely essential for a firefighter role, a pass in these subjects at GCSE or above will help your application.
You’ll need a certain level of competency in English and Maths to pass the Firefighter Ability Tests. Some FRSs will allow you to do a equivalency test, but if you have the opportunity to study for a pass in these subjects now, we’d recommend you do so to make things easier for you in the future!