School Leavers – Preparation for your Firefighter Career

Whether you’ve just left school or are heading into your final year come the autumn you may have already set your heart on the career of a firefighter.

We won’t lie to you – the selection process can be tough and highly competitive.

However, there are certain things you could be doing now to ensure that when you do apply, your application stands out.

Check out your local Fire Service

Check the website of your local FRS and find out when they’re running their next Open Day, or public event. Or we can keep you up to date with the latest Firefighter recruitment via our job alert service as sometimes the first stage is attending an open day.

These may seem like a pointless event to attend as they tend to be geared towards a family day out – however they are also a crucial chance for you to introduce yourself to the currently serving firefighters and ask any questions you might have.

Make connections – you never know where they might lead. And showing an interest shows a commitment to your career choice.

Gain some relatable experience

There are a multitude of volunteering prospects and charity youth organisations that can help you gain essential skills and experience that you can then transfer to a career in firefighting.

This not only looks great on your application (and in your interview when you’re asked about those all important PQAs), it’s also a fantastic life experience and shows great initiative.

The British Red Cross has some excellent volunteering opportunities.

You can apply for roles which have great transferable skills such as:

  • Emergency Response Volunteer where you’ll be called upon to assist in emergencies such as floods, fires, evacuations and transport incidents (you must be 18 or over).
  • Community Reserve Volunteer where you’ll help within your community in the event of a large-scale local crisis (you must be 18 or over).
  • First Aid Volunteer where you’ll receive advanced first aid training and be called upon to assist at public events, both big and small, throughout the UK (you must be 16 or over, though there are training opportunities for those aged 15 also).

For all of the above opportunities you’ll receive training and protective clothing as needed for the role.

Charity youth organisations provide the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and build your team-working abilities (something which is essential to the role of a firefighter).

The Prince’s Trust has many opportunities for young people aged 16-30. You can apply for things like funding for further education and training, try new things with the ‘get started’ programme or gain work experience with the ‘get into’ initiative.

One of the most important things that The Prince’s Trust offers for aspiring firefighters, however, is ‘Team’ – a 12 week personal development course (including a residential week) which also offers work experience and placements.

Many FRS’s work with The Prince’s Trust in providing these courses and they can be a great pathway to further work experience and opportunities for internal selection.

British Red Cross logoThe Prince's Trust logo
DofE logo


Build on your Teamwork

There are many opportunities in your local area for you to build on your teamwork skills.

For starters if you’re into sport you could join a local team in your chosen discipline. These are transferable skills and will also have the benefit of improving your overall health and fitness – having a good fitness level is essential for a firefighter.

You could also look into taking part in initiatives such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The organisation prides itself on providing a means of opening doors to education and employment possibilities for young people through character building activities and teaching essential skills.

And remember –

if you apply and aren’t successful in the first instance keep on trying and don’t give up on your dream – take a deep breath, pause, and get yourself ready for the next application. Determination goes a long way!

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FRS Team

Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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