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The Experience of Apprenticeships

(a Station Commander’s viewpoint)

four Firefighters outside training

By Station Commander John Robinson

As Station Commander working with apprentices has given me tremendous pride and job satisfaction. I have enjoyed watching how my Watch and Crew Commanders, together with the rest of their crew members, pull together to develop these people of all abilities into professional firefighters. But most importantly becoming respected friends and colleagues within the Fire and Rescue family.


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There’s almost a buzz of energy amongst the crews as one of their own is about to take their Milestone Assessments. I’m sure each apprentice grows 2 inches as they stand and tell me they have passed. I currently have 3 apprentices who are preparing for their End-Point Assessment, and I know without a doubt, they will all become excellent firefighters. I have high hopes that they will look to progress their careers, and who knows, we could be looking at future Chief Fire Officers.

Even the old sweats on the watch, who are traditionally the grumpy, not interested characters, become the “go to” person for these apprentices. And guess what they love it. Bringing new, often young, people into this challenging environment has an enormous responsibility attached to it. And I’m proud to say my staff have stepped up.

I retire before we see the next cohort enter our service but I’m thankful that I will see our current cohort finish before I hang up my boots.

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