Joining us

Becoming a fulltime firefighter, known as wholetime, 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.
  • 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.

Further details regarding proposed dates of each stage will be released at a later date.  Please note that changes to the process may occur due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Please monitor our website and subscribe to our mailing list for updates.

Dates at a glance

Please be aware that the following dates are subject to change.

  • Stage 1: Eligibility and registration - 06 April 2021 – 13 April 2021
  • Stage 2: Online questionnaires - 15 April 2021 – 29 April 2021
  • Stage 3: Online ability tests - 04 May 2021 – 11 May 2021
  • Stage 4: Online application form - 21 May 2021 – 2 June 2021
  • Stage 5: Shortlisting - 3 June 2021 – 23 June 2021
  • Stage 6: Fitness and strength tests and speed interviews - 05 July 2021 – 16 July 2021
  • Stage 7: Practical physical tests - 26 July 2021 – 4 August 2021
  • Stage 8: Interviews - 16 August 2021 – 20 August 2021
  • Stage 9: Job offer decisions - September 2021
  • Firefighter Training - 10 January 2022 – 1 April 2022

Stage 1: Eligibility and registration

Eligibility screening & registration

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,
  • be able to work in the UK without any restrictions,
  • be aged 18 or over at the start of the training school,
  • If you hold a Full UK driving licence you must have no more than 3 penalty points.

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 with a smartphone.

Stage 2: Online questionnaires

Behavioural Styles Questionnaire

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 to advise if you have passed this stage. If successful you will then be invited to complete an online Situational Judgement Test.

Download our Behavioural Styles applicant guide

Situational Judgement Test

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.  

Download our Situational Judgement applicant guide.

You will receive an email 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: Online ability tests

If you pass the Situational Judgement Test you will receive an e-mail 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 practice tests.

Stage 4: Online application form

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. 

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

We will send emails to successful candidates, please check your email (including spam folders) regularly.

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: Fitness and strength tests (Yate Fire Station & running track), plus speed interviews

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 score sufficiently at shortlisting will be invited to demonstrate that they can meet the Fitness and Strength 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 pass the initial fitness test (1.5 mile run in timed conditions) then you will proceed to the strength tests (upper body strength tests). After passing both the fitness test and the strength test then you will be required to complete a 10-minute speed interview.

The speed interview is set for 10 minutes and has been designed to find out more about you, what motivated you to apply for the role and how your skills and experience match the role of a Wholetime Firefighter. If you score sufficiently then you will be invited to the next stage of the selection process – the physical tests.

Stage 7: Practical physical tests

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 online booking system. These tests will be conducted in small group sessions by our training team. The tests will include

  • ladder climb
  • ladder lift and extension
  • crawl through a small tunnel wearing breathing apparatus
  • dummy drag
  • equipment carry
  • 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 8: Interview

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 9: Job offer decisions

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.

If you are aware of a medical condition which may require further evidence you must contact your GP/Specialist to obtain this as early as possible. any delays at this stage could affect our ability to offer you a post. 

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

Firefighter Training

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.