Firefighter Level 3 Apprenticeship at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue

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Firefighter Level 3 Apprenticeship

The programme covers a tailored and structured training programme covering, business fire safety and operational firefighting apprenticeship standards.

Candidates will be enrolled on the business fire safety apprenticeship initially, working in many areas of the organisation gaining an insight into the Service’s statutory responsibilities and day to day operations. Community safety activities are carried by both operational and support staff within the service and include working with schools, community groups, vulnerable people and the wider community to promote well-being and provide a safe living or working environment.

A Fire Safety Advisor works with businesses to help them keep their premises safe from fire by offering advice and education to reduce risk. People in this role also recognise and take appropriate steps when enforcement action may be required. The role contributes to the aims of saving life, preventing injury, enhancing business continuity and protecting premises.

As an apprentice, you will also undertake basic firefighter training and part of the apprenticeship programme will require you to work as part of a crew on an operational fire station, responding to incidents. You will also learn about the various ways to extinguish a fire using gas, powder, water or foam. More importantly, you will learn how fires can be prevented and working with the team to act as an advisor to others on this important subject.

You must be aged 17 or over at time of appointment due to the nature of the role.

The role involves a diverse mix of essential work including visits to a wide spectrum of businesses, schools, domestic properties and joint visits with other agencies to actively support and promote fire and community safety.

The role may also involve proactive promotional work at events and reactive work after incidents to raise awareness of fire safety in the local community. 

The main duties within Community Safety are:

  • Be involved in the education and training of members of the community in the reduction of risk through intervention
  • Inform and educate your community to improve awareness of safety matters
  • Carry out safe and well-being visits across the county in line with service requirements

The main duties within Business Fire Safety are:

  • Plan and gather information, such as the history of the premises and data from partner agencies for the purpose of fire safety regulation
  • Visit premises for the purposes of fire safety regulation
  • Assessing fire risks associated with simple premises; for example the means of escape, fire detection and emergency lighting
  • Identify hazards and risks associated with fire in premises and report on them

As part of your apprenticeship you will also work towards the Firefighter National Role Map and operational requirements. Firefighters mostly work for local authorities, but can also be found in airports, chemical works, military bases and power stations – basically, wherever there may be a fire or people needing rescue.

 The main duties of a firefighter include:

  • Inform and educate your community to improve awareness of safety matters
  • Take responsibility for effective performance, save and preserve endangered life and resolve operational incidents
  • Protect the environment from the effects of hazardous materials
  • Support the effectiveness of operational response
  • Support the development of colleagues in the workplace
  • Contribute to safety solutions to minimise risks to your community

The role will also include attendance at college on a regular basis as well the Service’s training facility.

Training to be provided

Candidates will work towards Level 3 in Business Fire Safety and then Operational Firefighter Level 3 Apprenticeships.

The Service will also provide basic training in operational firefighting.

The qualification will be achieved through work-based evidence and on average one day per week in college to work towards the standards.

Desired skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Use ICT effectively to support work
  • Good organisational skills
  • Ability to work unsupervised and manage workloads within agreed timescales
  • Strong communication skills both orally and written
  • Self-disciplined
  • High degree of practical ability 
  • Logical approach to problems
  • Ability to remain calm under physical and mental pressure
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Ability to work on own initiative as well as being a member of a team
  • Ability build positive professional working relationships
  • Knowledge of Health and Safety
  • Ability to work at heights
  • Ability to work in confined spaces

Personal qualities

  • Open to change and actively seeks to support it 
  • Works effectively with others both within the Fire and Rescue Service and in the community
  • Maintains an active awareness of the environment to promote safe and effective working.
  • Remain in control of own emotions during challenging situations and concentrate on the task despite pressure and retain confidence in own ability or convictions despite setbacks. 
  • Behave courteously to calmly acknowledge the concerns of people who may be hostile, rude, confused and / or frustrated
  • Adopt a conscientious approach and complete work as required within agreed timescales
  • Be committed to the organisational values and behaviours
  • Respond with courtesy, clarity and accuracy to enquiries from stakeholders and other departments and agencies
  • Apply due diligence and sound judgement when responding to requests and dealing with confidential information

Desired qualifications

  • There are no formal qualifications required to enter this apprenticeship programme however candidates without English and Maths at Grade C (4) or above or equivalent must achieve a Level 2 comparable standard in both prior to the completion of year 1 of the Apprenticeship.
  • GCSE Maths, English & IT – grade C (4) or above or equivalent

Future prospects

  • As well as the potential to become a Firefighter, further training and qualifications could lead to career pathways within Fire and Rescue Services and across UK industry such as Fire Safety Risk Assessor, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Risk Manager and Fire Engineer

Things to consider

Health and Fitness

You must be able to reach a baseline standard of physical fitness to ensure you can safely undertake the apprenticeship. 

You will be given the opportunity whilst on the apprenticeship scheme to improve your fitness levels within the first year. Health and fitness are an important part of a firefighter’s role and our firefighters are tested annually to ensure they are fit enough to undertake their role. The Service fitness standard must be reached in order to progress onto year two of the apprenticeship. 

Please take note of the fitness guidance in the links below. If you do not reach the required fitness standard at the physical tests and at your pre-employment medical, then your application cannot be taken any further.

If successful, you will be asked to attend a medical where you will be examined by a member of the Service Occupational Health Team. You will complete a questionnaire looking at your medical history and complete the following tests:

  • Hearing Test
  • Lung Function
  • Physical Stamina
  • Eye Test
  • General tests based on your completed medical questionnaire
  • Substance Misuse Test 

About County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service is in the North East of England and serves an area of approximately 2,460 square kilometres. Durham City and the larger industrial and commercial towns are in the east of the area; in contrast the west is predominantly rural consisting of open moor land and wooded river valleys and is sparsely populated. Darlington, our largest town, lies in the South and is undergoing significant regeneration.

How to apply

To apply for this role and to find out more, please click on the apply button.

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