Wholetime Firefighter

RECRUITMENT IS CLOSED

Wholetime Firefighter recruitment closed on 24 Nov 2019

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 about the role:

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 (must have passed test by completion of application)
  • 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*
  • Must be able to swim

*Level 2 functional skills form an integral part of the apprenticeship, and the recruitment process will include BKSB functional tests for English and Maths.

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.

Wholetime Firefighter pay scales:

POSITION ANNUAL SALARY BASIC RATE/hr
Trainee (until end of training) £23,366 £10.67
Development (from end of training until end of apprenticeship) £24,339 £11.11
Competent £31,144 £14.22

APPLY NOW

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.

All successful candidates may be required to work within any of the duty systems employed within BFRS which currently include, but are not limited to, Shift (2x 9 hour days, 2 x 15 hour nights, followed by 4 rota days), Day Staffed, and Flexi-firefighter systems.

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 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
  • Production of an e-portfolio of evidence
  • End point assessment

 

What happens after the apprenticeship?

At the end of the two year apprenticeship scheme, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service 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

Will I have additional earning opportunities?

On top of your basic annual wage package, you can have enhanced earning potential by taking overtime and extra bank shifts at an enhanced hourly rate. 

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?

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 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?

You will be expected to attend an eye test as part of your application, and 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 more information https://www.fireservice.co.uk/recruitment/eyesight/

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?

Disclosure & Barring Checks are conducted for all front facing roles and checks will be carried out where:

  • Employees are new to the Authority and appointed to a role where a DBS check is necessary
  • When existing employees move into a role where a DBS check is necessary and do not have an in-date check
  • As part of the three yearly renewal process for all employees with enhanced checks

However this doesn’t necessarily mean that it should prevent you from applying. Applicants will be asked to declare whether they have criminal convictions during the recruitment process and are expected to be honest and declare any convictions or charges. Should an applicant declare a conviction or charge on their application or when completing the DBS check, this will not necessarily prevent them from progressing any further through the recruitment process, however the matter will need to be risk assessed and discussed between the person concerned, the line manager and Human Resources. The Authority will apply for a new Disclosure Certificate every three years. During this three-year period, if there is anything relevant that the Authority should be aware of, you are required to declare it; failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken. DBS fees will be incurred by the Fire & Rescue Service. For more information, please refer to http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/53

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 appliances 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 application.

Would a driving offence prevent me from applying?

Not necessarily. We will undertake a driving licence check through an external contractor 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 had in the past as some still appear even though they are spent. These driving licence checks will be completed every three years. Fees for these checks will be incurred by the Fire and Rescue Service. For more information on driving offences, please refer to http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/53

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

Every firefighter has access to a room which can be used as a private changing facility if required.

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.

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.  All successful candidates may be required to work within any of the duty systems employed within BFRS which currently include, but are not limited to, Shift (2x 9 hour days, 2 x 15 hour nights, followed by 4 rota days), Day Staffed, and Flexi-firefighter systems.

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 authorised by the service. In regards to the apprenticeship, this application for secondary employment will only be considered after six months of service.

What is the fitness test?

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.

Bleep test

Candidates will be required to get a score of 8.6 on the bleep test. A video about the test is below.

Additional information

Information about fire fighter fitness can be found at this link.

Additional information about role related testing, fitness standards and Chester treadmill test can be downloaded below: 

Icon

Firefighter fitness guide 2.01 MB 186 downloads

...

 

Recruitment Process

Detailed below are the stages of the recruitment process, only those successful at the previous stage will move onto the next stage. Dates to be confirmed nearer the time.

STAGE DATES
Apply Online 1 - 25 November 2019
Online Psychometric testing 27 November - 5 December 2019
Bleep test 11  - 19 December 2019
Role Related Tests and kit fitting/PPE sizing 2 - 10 January 2020
Interview 15 - 29 January 2020
Medicals 5 - 19 February 2020
Eyesight checks, DBS checks, References, Kit fitting Throughout process
Formal offers of employment Week commencing 24 February
Start date 6 April 2020

 

Basic Training Course

Successful candidates will be required to attend an 12 week basic training course. The first course commences 6 April 2020. The second course will commence in October 2020. Start dates to be confirmed.

WEEK VENUE ACTIVITY
Week 1 Service Headquarters Induction
Week 2 Service Headquarters Immediate Emergency Care Training
Weeks 3-10 The Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh Residential Firefighter Training programme
Weeks 11-12 Great Holm Fire Station Conversion Course
Week 13 Leave

During weeks 3-10, successful candidates will attend a residential course. You will be required to stay Monday through Friday 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.

Our values

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.

Service to the community

  • 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

People

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

Improvement

  • 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

Diversity

  • 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