New direct entry scheme for fire and rescue service to launch in April

The National Fire Chiefs Council has confirmed that its direct entry scheme is to go ahead starting with applications for Station Manager roles. This is a first for the fire and rescue service in the UK, and will see a national, robust, and quality-assured pilot rolled out across a number of services.

The scheme will enable those with proven leadership skills, from a variety of sectors, to apply without needing to have fire service experience or without needing to have taken the traditional firefighter promotional route. This approach will play a valuable part in diversifying senior management in fire and rescue services.

A recruitment campaign starting on 3 April will be handled by Reed Specialist Recruitment Ltd.

Those recruited to the roles will be expected to acquire, develop, and demonstrate skills and expertise in management and command functions, as set out for their role in the nationally agreed applicable role maps. This development will be enhanced through a nationally designed, coordinated, and quality-assured process.

Direct Entry Project Executive Rob Barber said, “We hope that the scheme will draw new perspectives and experiences from the brightest and best who might not ordinarily have seen a career in the fire and rescue service as being open or attractive to them. It is to be both additional and complementary to existing progression routes to ensure we continue to nurture and develop internal fire sector staff.

While direct entry isn’t new to fire and rescue service, Rob Barber explained that launching the scheme in a way that creates a supportive cohort right across the country is unique.

CFO Dawn Whittaker Direct Entry Project Executive added, “Many of the leadership skills required to run a modern fire and rescue service are not dissimilar to those required in other sectors, with people, financial, partnership and commercial skills at the fore.”

The project was launched to address some of the recommendations made in the HMICFRS State of Fire Report. Direct Entry is just one of a number of projects being delivered by NFCC’s Leadership Programme, supporting fire and rescue staff to move through their careers at a pace that suits them.

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