Joining us

Becoming a fulltime, known as wholetime, firefighter at Avon Fire & Rescue Service generates a significant level of interest. We are not seeking one type of person as the role requires many varied skills.  We want to attract applicants who have a range of experience and life skills which they can bring to the role.  You must meet the strict criteria below to be eligible to apply:

Essential criteria

  • You must live in one of the areas covered by Avon Fire & Rescue Service (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire and North Somerset). You must reside at the given address and we will ask you to provide proof of this at each stage of the selection process.
  • You must be aged 18 or over when the training school starts on 13 May 2019.
  • You must be able to drive and have no more than 3 points on your driving licence.
  • You must be physically fit and have good upper body strength.


The recruitment process

This section guides you through the recruitment process and timescales involved. The process will be conducted to strict deadlines and no extensions can be given. It is important that you are able to set aside the time required to complete these assessments on the set dates.

We will communicate any changes to the process through email so please register for updates here.

View a summary

Stage 1: Eligibility and registration

Eligibility screening & registration

16-21 November 2018

The first part of the process is candidate registration and eligibility screening, which takes up to 15 minutes. To be eligible to apply you must:

  • reside within Avon Fire & Rescue Service area,
  • have a full driving licence (maximum 3 points allowed),
  • be able to work in the UK without any restrictions,
  • be aged 18 or over at the start of the training school on 13 May 2019.

If you are eligible to proceed with your application you will be invited to complete the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire. All of the online stages can be completed on a computer, laptop or tablet. They are not compatible for completion using a smart phone.

Stage 2: On-line questionnaires

Behavioural Styles Questionnaire

22-26 November 2018

If you are eligible to apply you will receive an e-mail with a link to the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire. The e-mail will confirm the closing date and time.  Please ensure you regularly check your e-mails, including trash/spam folders so you do not miss the strict deadline.

This is not a timed assessment and in most cases it will take around 15-20 minutes to complete. You will receive an e-mail on 27th November to advise if you have passed this stage.  If successful you will then be invited to complete an online Situational Judgement Test.

Situational Judgement Test

28 November – 2 December 2018

If you pass the previous stage you will receive an e-mail link to the Situational Judgement Test.  Again please ensure you check your e-mails so you do not miss this opportunity.

This is not a timed assessment and will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.  

You will receive an email on 3rd December informing you whether you have been successful at this stage of the application process.  If you are successful you will then be invited to complete the online ability tests.

Stage 3 : On-line ability tests

4-9 December 2018

If you pass the Situational Judgement Test you will receive an e-mail on 3 December containing a link to the online ability tests. There are two tests; numerical and verbal reasoning. These tests are designed to measure your ability to understand, interpret and logically evaluate numerical and written information.  The numerical test comprises of 18 questions and you will have 18 minutes to complete the test. The verbal test comprises of 20 questions and there is a maximum time limit of 15 minutes.

Time extensions will be given for candidates who declare they have dyslexia (checks will be made at a later stage of the process to validate this).

If you pass these tests you will be sent an e-mail with a link to our electronic application form.

You can familiarise yourself with the ability tests by completing the practice tests below. These tests will not be recorded as part of your application.

Follow these links to access the pratice tests.

Stage 4: On-line application form

11-19 December 2018

There are two sections to the application form. In the first section you will provide contact details including your address which we will use to verify your eligibility to apply. It is important that the information you provide is accurate or it may affect your application. Our essential criteria is provided at the top of this page.

The second section of the form is about you. This is your opportunity to tell us about your skills and experience with examples and evidence to demonstrate how you meet our service values. There is a 1,500 word limit for this section and only 150 people will progress to the next stage of the process.

You can prepare for this section now by writing a draft of your personal statement. Starting now will give you more time to capture information that may help your application.

It is best to present the information in a clear and logical format using headings and bullet points to ensure your skills, experience and evidence against each of our values is clear. You can refer to this website to learn about our values.

You should support your statements with examples. For instance, stating “I work well within a team” will not help us assess your skills unless you provide specific examples of working well within a team.

Stage 5: Shortlisting

7-10 January 2019

The process will pause during the Christmas break and you will not hear from us until after shortlisting. We will send emails to successful candidates on Friday 11 and Monday 14 January 2019, please check your email (including spam folders) regularly on these days.

If you do not receive an email, you will not have passed the shortlisting process.

We will be extremely busy during this stage of the process and ask that you do not contact us for updates. Due to the high number of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback on your application. 

Stage 6: Interview

21-28 January 2019 (Severn Park Training Centre – Avonmouth)

The interview lasts one hour and will comprise of 6 set questions which are the same for all candidates.  It will be conducted by a panel of two members of our staff. You will be able to book the date and time slot for your interview on our on-line booking system.  The link to this will be sent to you.

The interview panel will endeavour to help you relax and enable you to perform your best.  They will ask a range of questions to obtain as much information within the hour as possible.

This is your opportunity to provide further details, examples and evidence of your skills, experience and values and how these make you one of the best candidates for the role.  You will also be expected to know about the role of a Firefighter and Avon Fire & Rescue Service. It is recommended that you review our website and familiarise yourself with the work we do.  This will assist you at the interview stage.

If you meet the set pass mark we will advise you by e-mail and you will progress to the next stage. We will not advise you of your interview score.  This will be used at the end of the process to select the best performing candidates for the limited number of places available on the training course.

Stage 7: Fitness and strength tests (Yate Fire Station & running track)

12-13 February 2019

You will be able to book the date and time slot for these tests on our on-line booking system.  The HR Team will send you the details if you reach this stage.

Candidates who meet the required mark within the interview will be invited to demonstrate that they can meet the physical requirements of the role.  This test will comprise the following two elements:

  • Run - A 1.5 mile run in timed conditions
  • Upper body strength test – A lateral pull down of between 30kg and 60kg and shoulder press of 35kg

If you meet the required minimum standards in all tests you will progress to the next stage.  You will be advised on the day if you have passed or failed the tests and the HR team will also e-mail you to confirm this.

Stage 8: Practical physical tests

25 February – 1 March 2019 (Hicks Gate Fire Station near Keynsham)

Candidates who pass the fitness and strength test will be invited to attend the practical physical tests. Again you will be able to book the date and either a morning or afternoon session using our on-line booking system.  These tests will be conducted in small group sessions by our training team. The tests will include

  • a ladder climb;
  • a ladder lift and extension;
  • a crawl through a small tunnel wearing breathing apparatus;
  • a dummy drag;
  • an equipment carry; and
  • an equipment assembly test.

These tests replicate the type of tasks you would be expected to undertake on the training school and within the role of a firefighter. They are designed to test practical ability and the ability to follow instructions. Some of the tests are conducted to set time constraints.  All tests must be passed to move forward to the next stage of the process. You will not be advised of the results on the day. The HR Team will e-mail you to advise if you have passed or failed these tests.

Stage 9: Job offer decisions

4-6 March

The HR Team will review how many people have passed all stages of the process and which candidates scored highest in the application form shortlisting and interview stages.  We will also assess any criminal conviction declarations made by candidates at the start of the process at this stage.

The top 16 candidates will be invited to attend a medical with our Occupational Health Nurse.  You must pass the medical. If there are any medical queries these will be escalated to our OH Doctor.  Their decision is final. If further medical advice is required to confirm your medical fitness for the role this may prevent a job offer being made as we must confirm job offers quickly in order to complete the final stages of checks and uniform fittings in time for the training school start date.

All job offers are made on a conditional basis, subject to receipt of satisfactory references and other pre-employment checks.

Firefighter Training

13 May for 12 weeks

Further details will be provided at the job offer stage.  Please be aware that you will not be able to take any annual leave during this period for any reason.