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Becoming a Firefighter

How do we select and train people to become one of our Wholetime Firefighters?

Becoming a firefighter

Anyone considering a role as a Wholetime Firefighter should be aware that there are a number of stages before you become fully qualified. (Please note the process is different for our On-Call Firefighters – if you are interested in the selection and training process for On-Call Firefighters please click here to go to our On-Call section).

When do you recruit?

When we are seeking new Wholetime Firefighters we will open a recruitment phase for Firefighter apprentices. This will be advertised on our website and through our social media accounts.

What are the entry requirements?

To be eligible to apply for our apprenticeship scheme, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old by the start date
  • Hold a full UK driving licence (must have passed test by completion of application)
  • Live within 20 miles of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes border
  • Have Level 2 Functional Skills or GCSE’s in Maths and English Language A* – C (9 – 4) or accepted equivalent (Level 2 functional skills form an integral part of the apprenticeship, and the recruitment process will include BKSB functional tests for English and Maths)
  • Must be able to swim

Additionally, we look for candidates who demonstrate:

  • A ‘Can Do’ attitude
  • A keen interest in the Fire and Rescue Services
  • A willingness to learn
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of people
  • The ability to work in a team environment
  • The ability to achieve a good level of physical fitness
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • The ability to think about the bigger picture in a dynamic and challenging environment

The recruitment process:

The stages of the recruitment process are outlined below, only those successful at the previous stage will move onto the next stage.

  • Online application
  • Online Psychometric testing
  • Bleep test
  • Role Related Tests and kit fitting/PPE sizing
  • Interview
  • Medicals
  • Eyesight checks, DBS checks, references, kit fitting
  • Formal offers of employment
  • Start date

The Trainee phase:

During this phase, the rate of pay is £23,366 annual salary (£10.67 basic hourly rate)
Successful candidates will be required to attend a 12-week basic training course:

  • Week 1 – Induction
  • Week 2 – Immediate Emergency Care Training
  • Weeks 3 to 10 – Residential Firefighter Training programme
  • Weeks 11 to 12 – Conversion Course
  • Week 13 – Leave

During weeks 3 to 10, successful candidates will attend a residential course. They are required to stay Monday through Friday at The Fire Service College (food and accommodation is provided on site).

The apprenticeship:

On successful completion of the 12-week basic training course, recruits start their apprenticeship.

During this development phase (from the end of training until the end of the apprenticeship) the rate of pay is £24,339 annual salary (£11.11 basic hourly rate).

Our apprentice Firefighters operate within Wholetime crews, working days, nights, weekends and bank holidays as required, alongside their Wholetime counterparts.

All successful candidates may be required to work within any of the duty systems employed within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, which currently include, but are not limited to, Shift (two x nine-hour days, two x 15 hour nights, followed by four rota days), Day Staffed, and Flexi-firefighter systems.

When considering placement of our apprentices we take into account where we need to fill vacancies, and the skills of all new employees. We try to place them at a station and watch that will help them develop further.

What assessments take place during the apprenticeship?

The qualification achieved through the two-year apprenticeship period is Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship. To support this qualification, each apprentice is assessed throughout their apprenticeship by:

  • On the job observations
  • Written assessments
  • Evidence of your duties/tasks performed
  • Reports from mentors and managers
  • Production of an e-portfolio of evidence
  • End point assessment

What happens after the apprenticeship?

At the end of the two-year apprenticeship scheme, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will work closely with the apprentice to identify the next steps, this could include:

  • Employment within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service
  • Further or higher education
  • Employment with another fire and rescue service

Once competent, if employed within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, the rate of pay is £31,144 annual salary (£14.22 basic hourly rate).


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