Wholetime Firefighter


Have a look at this page and learn about the role. Being a firefighter can be in your future. The next time apprentice firefighter recruitment is open this page will be updated.



Firefighting is not like any other job


It can be unpredictable, exciting and rewarding coupled with the satisfaction and respect that comes with providing a crucial service to your local community.


Fire crews will be called upon to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more. You will learn new skills along the way such as first aid, road traffic collision procedures and fire safety, and there is an opportunity for you to learn other skills, such as Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver. Firefighters work closely with the community to increase their level of awareness and to help prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wholetime Firefighter Recruitment

What are the entry requirements?

To be eligible to apply for the apprenticeship scheme:

Must have requirements: 

  • Be at least 18 years old by the start date
  • Hold a full UK driving licence
  • 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.

Upskilling opportunities will be offered to successful candidates that cannot provide evidence of the above qualifications. Click here to find out more about BKSB functional skills.

In addition we are looking 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.

What qualifications will I achieve?

During this apprenticeship you will achieve the following qualifications:

How will I be assessed during the apprenticeship scheme?

You will be assessed throughout the apprenticeship by:

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


What happens after the apprenticeship?

At the end of the two year apprenticeship scheme, Encompass 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

What hours will I have to work?

Apprentice firefighters will operate within Wholetime crews and must therefore be prepared to work days, nights, weekends and bank holidays as required, alongside their Wholetime counterparts.

How much will I get paid?

Entry 6 months 12 months 18 months
£17,980 £19,623 £21,266 £22,908

If my faith requires me to fast, can I still be a Firefighter?

Yes, you can still fast, but it is important that all members of the Service are able to perform their core role whilst on duty.

It is important to recognise that dehydration can affect a person very quickly.  An individual may believe they are perfectly fine but very quickly succumb to the adverse effects of dehydration.

We encourage staff who choose to fast to discuss it with their line manager.  Employees have a responsibility for being fit for duty and, where fasting has affected a member of staff adversely, they must tell their manager immediately.

As a practising Sikh, can I still be a Firefighter and wear a turban?

A new clause of the Deregulation Bill 2015 extends the existing exemption for Sikhs to have to wear a safety helmet under the Employment Act in all workplaces.  However there are exclusions for emergency response services and the military, which apply only in hazardous operational situations when the wearing of a safety helmet is considered necessary.  These include for example, entering a burning building where protective clothing needs to be worn to enclose the whole body, situations such as bomb disposal, or when dealing with hazardous materials like chemical leaks, bio-hazards or radiation.

Do you have quotas for women and ethnic minority recruits?

No, we don’t have such quotas, but we encourage and welcome applications from these groups because they’re under-represented within our workforce.  However, all applicants are assessed purely on merit.

I have a disability.  Can I still apply?

The disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010 apply to Firefighters. This means anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the Fire and Rescue Service. A disability is defined by the Act as:

Anyone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to give details of the type of adjustments you may require in order to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a Firefighter should you be successful.  Each case will be considered on an individual basis and, if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable you to take part in the selection process and fulfil the role of a Firefighter, then your application will be progressed.

I am dyslexic.  Will I be able to cope with the online psychometric and ability tests?

Dyslexia is considered to be a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process.  Should you answer ‘yes’ we can make reasonable adjustments for you at the relevant stages of the selection process.  We normally ask for a report to confirm the type and extent of your dyslexia which is sent to our Occupational Health Practitioner for review.  They then use this information to decide if a reasonable adjustment can be made – for example, you may be given extra time to complete an online test.

We will need the report to be submitted prior to undertaking the tests so the appropriate adjustments can be considered and any adjustments made.

I wear glasses and have had corrective eye surgery.  Can I apply?

Yes, but all applicants have to provide an optician’s report at medical stage. Please refer to the Visual Entry Standards for further information.

I am colour blind.  Can I apply?

When you go for your eye test, the optician will test you for colour vision.  Individuals with either normal colour vision or slightly abnormal green colour vision are suitable for appointment to the Fire Service.  Please refer to the Visual Entry Standards for further information.

Do you have to have good hearing?

Yes, there is a requirement to have good hearing in line with functional standards (with artificial aids, where applicable)

Are you allowed to drink or smoke?

We have a policy which prohibits the use of drugs, alcohol and smoking in all of our premises.

Would somebody’s size affect their application?

No – this is a popular misconception, because there used to be restrictions on height, weight and chest expansion.  Candidates are expected to pass strength and fitness tests as part of the recruitment process.  The tests are at a level that’s achievable by men and women of all different sizes and builds.

Isn’t being a Firefighter dangerous?

We adopt an assertive safe and effective approach to how we manage incidents.  Whilst there have been some fatalities to firefighters around the country when attending incidents, and they can never be hazard-free, we’ve developed a very positive approach to health and safety.
As an organisation, we set extremely high standards and expectations in this area.  Our firefighters work within a ‘competency framework,’ as well as effective personal protective equipment such as helmets and other fire kit.  At incidents, safe systems of work are established with a high level of command and control.  We also constantly stress the importance of personal safety to our staff.

Away from incidents, our commitment to health safety and well-being is maintained across all areas of activity.

Why are you restricting applications to people who live within a 20 mile radius of your County border?

We seek to represent the communities we serve in the makeup of our organisation, by employing people from our communities we enhance our organisations knowledge of our local communities.  We also contribute to the economic growth of our communities by providing local jobs for local people.  During the recruitment process you will be asked to provide proof of your home address.

Is my address within a 20 mile radius of your County border?

Unfortunately we are unable to check prior to shortlisting every individual address query.  You could however carry out a postcode check on the internet to gain a rough idea of how close to the border you are.  We would recommend if you think you are within a location close enough that you submit your application.  All addresses will be being checked during the shortlisting stage to confirm the distance from the county border.

Why is there a requirement for a driving licence?

Firefighters may be required to provide cover at another Fire Station at short notice.  They will need to get there along with their fire kit and therefore will need to be able to drive.  There may also be a requirement to progress to driving fire appliances in the future.

Would a criminal record prevent me from applying?

Not necessarily.  Please review our Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 guidance document for further information.  We will undertake an Enhanced Disclosure check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as part of the pre-employment clearances stage.  Therefore please be honest on your application and advise us of any convictions, fines, etc that you have or have had in the past as some still appear on your DBS check even though they are spent.  DBS fees will be incurred by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Is there an age limit?

You have to be a minimum of 18 years old at the start of your employment.  There is no upper age limit, as long as you are physically fit and can pass the fitness test you can become a Firefighter.

Would I have to work weekend and public holidays?

Firefighters whose shift/work pattern falls on a weekend or public holiday will be required to work.  There is the option to take leave subject to a maximum number of people being on leave at any one time.  This is to make sure our fire engines have enough people on duty to crew them.  For firefighters who are required to work a public holiday, the relevant enhancement would apply.

Do I need to be able to drive?

Yes, you need to hold a full UK driving licence with no pending issues at the point of employment.

Would a driving offence prevent me from applying?

Not necessarily.  Please review our Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 guidance document for further information.  We will undertake a Driving Licence check from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as part of the pre-employment clearances stage.  Therefore please be honest on your application and advise us of any driving convictions, fines, etc that you have or have had in the past as some still appear even though they are spent.  Fees for this check will be incurred by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Do you have separate changing facilities for male and female firefighters?

On Wholetime stations every firefighter has access to a study room which is shared with someone from the other 3 watches.  This room can be used for getting changed, studying and for resting after midnight.  There will be a time in the morning where someone from the watch coming on duty would need to use the room, as they would be getting ready for the start of their shift.

Do I need to be able to swim?

All of our Firefighters are trained in water rescue and therefore applicants need to be able to swim and, be able to rescue themselves from calm water.

Is child care provision available for the residential element of the training course or within the workplace once I start?

Unfortunately not however, you could explore whether you are entitled to tax-free childcare.

Can I choose which fire station to work at?

Unfortunately not, as a Firefighter you agree to serve at any station within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.  We must take into account where we need to fill vacancies however we will review skills of all new employees and try to place them at a station and watch that will help develop them further.

What are different coloured ‘watches’?

Operational personnel at each station are split into four rota groups known as ‘watches’ – White, Red, Blue and Green.  This is so we can provide a continual service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Can I have a second job?

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has a service policy that secondary employment has to be authorized by the service. In regards to the apprenticeship, this application for secondary employment will only be considered after 6 months of service.

What is the fitness test?

You will be required to complete the 12 minute Chester Treadmill Test and three strength tests.  If you are considering applying it is advisable that you start working on your fitness and strength now.  If you are successful at the early stages of the process you will then be ready for the fitness test.  It is also important you maintain your fitness.


Recruitment Process

Detailed below are the stages of the recruitment process, only those successful at the previous stage will move onto the next stage. We are currently not planning to recruit until the last quarter of 2019. Check back for dates:

Apply Online TBD
Online Psychometric testing TBD
Role Related Tests and kit fitting/PPE sizing TBD
Medicals and DBS checks TBD
Interviews TBD
Formal offers of employment TBD
Start date TBD


Basic Training Course

Successful candidates will be required to attend an 12 week basic training course commencing late March / early April.

Week 1 Aylesbury & Haddenham Fire Station Induction Week
Weeks 2-7 Great Holm Fire Station Training Provided by the Service (in-house)
Weeks 8-12 The Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh Residential Firefighter Training programme

Week 8-12 is a residential course and candidates are required to stay Monday through to Friday during their time at the Fire Service College (food and accommodation is provided on site).

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is an equal opportunity employer and applications from people of any colour, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or disability are welcomed.

Underpinning everything we do is a set of values to which we aspire in all our dealings, whether they are with the public, partner agencies or our own staff.

Our values


  • Working with all groups to reduce risk
  • Treating everyone fairly and with respect
  • Striving for excellence in all we do
  • Being answerable to those we serve


  • Accepting responsibility for our performance and actions
  • Being open-minded and receptive to alternative approaches
  • Learning from our experiences
  • Supporting others to enable them to achieve their goals
  • Encourage innovation and creativity


  • Fairness and respect
  • Recognising commitment and the achievement of excellent service
  • Honesty and trust
  • Opportunities to develop and learn
  • Co-operation and inclusive working


  • Treating everyone fairly and with respect
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination
  • Creating opportunities to meet the different needs of people and the communities
  • Promoting equal opportunities in terms of recruitment, promotion and retention

Our Fire stations


There are twenty strategically placed stations across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. These include ten stand-alone On-Call stations, eight combined Wholetime/On-Call stations and two Wholetime stations.

1. Amersham
2. Aylesbury
3. Beaconsfield
4. Bletchley
5. Brill
6. Broughton
7. Buckingham
8. Chesham
9. Gerrards Cross*
10. Great Holm

11. Great Missenden
12. Haddenham
13. High Wycombe
14. Marlow
15. Newport Pagnell*
16. Olney
17. Princes Risborough
18. Stokenchurch
19. Waddesdon
20. Winslow

*  Wholetime only stations

a rough map of buckinghamshire and milton keynes with our station locations as numbers

Firefighter Transferees

Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority is currently accepting expressions of interest for transferees from other brigades for Wholetime Firefighter roles.

In preparation for potential future vacancies, we are currently seeking expressions of interest from whole-time operational staff who are substantive and competent Firefighters.

If you would consider transferring to a forward thinking, progressive Fire Authority, that encourages developing a range of skills to help serve the community, then we would like to hear from you.

It’s easy to express your interest - just email recruitment@bucksfire.gov.uk with the following information: