Fire and rescue service apprentices get a new boost

Photo: Burton Media

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has partnered with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service to provide end-point assessments for fire apprentices. The EPA Partnership is a new organisation and demonstrates the NFCC’s long term commitment to fire apprenticeships.

There are approximately 1000 firefighter apprentices in England who are working towards the operational firefighter apprentice qualification. The EPA Partnership is focused on the operational apprenticeship for now but anticipates growing to embrace other fire related apprenticeships, from Emergency Service Contact Handler and Business Fire Safety, to Fire Safety Engineer.

Rob MacDougall, Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, has spearheaded the new organisation, leading the project for the NFCC. He said, “I am delighted to lead this important project, delivering on the NFCC’s commitment to develop apprenticeships in the fire and rescue service. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was ahead of its time when it became a registered end-point assessment organisation and I admire their vision. The new partnership with the NFCC will strengthen what is already a great service and allow it to grow and embrace all types of fire-related apprenticeships.”

Depending on the size and location of the organisation and the qualifications upon entry, the apprenticeship will typically take between 24 and 30 months to complete. The end-point assessment is the final step in the apprentice’s journey. They carry out four assessments over two days, with a mixture of practical and theoretical tasks. The apprentice is expected to demonstrate they have what it takes to be a firefighter.

The EPA Partnership has a strong cadre of assessors drawn from fire and rescue services across the country. By using trainers who are already working in operational roles, apprentices are guaranteed to be assessed by those with up to date knowledge and expertise based on many years of experience.

Katie Rollason, Operations Manager for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of bringing diverse new talent into the fire and rescue service and the demand for them is only going to increase. By partnering with the NFCC we can deliver even more end-point assessments, working with fire and rescue services across the country.”