New recruits

Aspiring firefighters wanted as AF&RS opens recruitment in 2020

People from every community are being encouraged to consider Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) in the New Year as it begins the search for the brightest and best to join as wholetime firefighters.

‘Yes You Can’ is the message being shared with local communities as the Service looks to welcome applications from across the diverse local area, including female and BAME applicants reflective of the community.

From this month, potential applicants from Bristol, BANES, South Glos and North Somerset will be invited to learn more about the Service and what it really means to be a modern, inclusive and ambitious wholetime firefighter.

Applications will then open in March, with those who are successful undertaking practical tests with the Service’s training school later in 2020.

Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “A career in the fire service is exciting, often challenging, always varied and entirely rewarding. 

“We are looking for honest, ambitious and courageous people who are driven by representing and making a positive difference in their community; who want to be part of an effective and efficient team; and who have the aspirations of becoming a leader of the future.

“The remit of a firefighter in today’s world is much broader than the role played at emergencies. 

“We need people with different skill sets who are passionate about community safety, are committed to prevention and protection and who can act as a role model inspiring others to be the best they can be.   

“We have been delighted with the interest we’ve received during our previous recruitment campaigns and we are once again expecting a large number of applications. 

“I am hopeful that they will come from all areas of our diverse community; it’s important the Service reflects the communities we serve and I would encourage people from all backgrounds to find out more and apply.

“If you want a career where you can make a difference, has opportunities for advancement and gives back to you what you put in then joining our team and becoming a firefighter is for you.

“If the role of a firefighter is not necessarily for you, we also currently advertising for various Corporate Staff and On-Call firefighter roles.

“We post roles all year round, so keep an eye on our website for future opportunities to join the Avon Fire & Rescue Service family, or sign up to our mailing list for more info.”

As a wholetime firefighter you would be responsible for ensuring AF&RS’ fire stations are crewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A fully qualified firefighter earns £31,000 a year and the career promotion path provides investment in you from qualification in technical expertise, leadership and academic achievements such as degrees and more.

This can lead all the way up to Chief Fire Officer via a variety of departments such as Risk Reduction, Technical Fire Safety, Training or Risk Intelligence, along with operational roles.

What do some of AF&RS’ recruits have to say?

Liam Bamford previously worked as a team leader for G4S Cash Solutions and had applied twice before, both of which were unsuccessful.

But his sheer determination meant he eventually did pass the application process. 

Liam, who has since become a fully qualified firefighter with White Watch at Temple Fire Station, said: “Joining Avon Fire & Rescue Service has fulfilled one of my life long ambitions and I can’t wait to begin progressing my career.”

After getting a law degree, Steph Ford was working in an office when she decided an office-based job wasn’t for her. 

She has now been in the Service for over two years and is currently based at Yate Fire Station. 

Speaking about the application process, Steph said: “I know that females have struggled in past recruitment phases with strength and fitness, but you’ve got enough time to sort that out.

“If you are thinking about joining and if you are serious about joining, then just put the work in.”

Watch Manager Paul Kirk joined the Service back in 2000. 

Speaking about his time with AF&RS, Paul said: “It was very important for me to start a career where I had the opportunity to progress and in the fire service you can progress up the ranks if you choose to and if you don’t you can stay as a firefighter and take on specialist responsibilities or additional roles. 

“I would say to anyone who was thinking about joining the fire service that it’s a very interesting career, no two days are the same.”

Over the coming months AF&RS will be hosting a number of recruitment awareness events, which are scheduled to take place throughout February.

The days will offer a ‘try before you apply’ opportunity where you can find out everything you need to know about the process, the fitness test and the practical assessment. 

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