Become a Wholetime Firefighter
Applications for Wholetime Firefighters are now closed. Please keep an eye out here and on our social media channels for recruitment drive updates. To be the first to know, register your interest now.
You will start your career with us on a salary of £27,178 which will then rise to £28,310 upon completion of basic training after 14 weeks. After your initial training, you will then continue to develop your skills. Once competent, your annual salary will rise to £36,226.
Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service is one of the very few services that work on a 24hr- on, 72hr- off shift rotation. This means that Wholetime Firefighters work a 24-hour shift on station, followed by a 3 day (72 hours) rest period.
The role of a Wholetime Firefighter
Our Wholetime Firefighters are highly trained in responding to fires, water rescues, road traffic collisions and a variety of other incidents. All new recruits follow a comprehensive 14-week training programme which fully equips them with the specialist skills required for this role.
Each Wholetime station specialises in a different area of emergency response, such as water-related rescues, hazardous material contamination, or animal rescue.
"No two days are the same when working as a Wholetime Firefighter. There's nothing like the feeling of going out the doors when the bells go down and the anticipation of what the incident will be." - Stuart Auger, Head of Response.
The role of a modern-day Firefighter is very broad based. It’s more than putting out fires and rescuing cats stuck up a tree! Our Firefighters protect the community, inspire young minds, educate people to keep them safe and excel by being a role model for future generations.
An increasing part of the Firefighters role is to encourage a safer community by preventing fires and emergencies before they happen and to make sure people understand the risks of fire and what they can do to protect themselves.
Firefighters take part in activities such as:
• Giving talks to schools;
• Visiting community groups;
• Fitting smoke detectors in homes;
• Advising homeowners on protecting their properties from fire risks;
• Working with youth and vulnerable people.
Firefighters therefore use a range of communication skills and have regular contact with all sections of the community.
To apply for a Wholetime Firefighter post, you must meet the entry criteria set out below at the application stage of the process:
- You will need to provide your Passport and other documentation to show you are eligible to work in the UK. You will be asked to supply evidence of this as part of the recruitment process, a list of what we can accept can be found here
Have three GCSEs grade A* - C/ 4 - 9 including English Language and Mathematics or equivalent. Please note that if they are equivalent, the equivalent to English Language and Mathematics grade A* - C must be included. You will be required to evidence your qualifications as part of the recruitment process. For more information on qualification requirements see below. When applying please include qualifications e.g. NVQs and BTEC’s etc)
- You must have a full and current driving licence that entitles you to drive in the UK without restrictions by the date of your pre-employment checks.
- Not be subject to any criminal convictions, which are not yet spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Including any offences dealt with by a court of law, HM Services disciplinary procedures and any driving offences. A Disclosure and Barring Service check will be carried out prior to employment.
- Be 18 years of age by date of employment. (You can apply at age 17)
- Be physically, mentally and medically fit enough to pass the national selection tests and medical assessments.
- Be able to swim and self-rescue from calm water.
- This is a public-facing role and it is essential to have the ability to converse at ease with members of the public and provide advice in accurate spoken English.
- Be able to work at any of our fire stations across the county (see map)
- Full training in all aspects of the role will be given. If successful, you will be required to work a 24 hour shift system. The shift rota pattern is a 24 hour shift followed by 72 hours off.
- You will be required to wear a uniform and PPE (personal protective equipment).
This criteria may be subject to change.
Please note that Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service does not accept external transfers from the on-call (retained) duty system to the wholetime duty system. In addition please note that any firefighters currently employed by another Fire and Rescue Service will be required to complete the full recruitment and selection process.
Firefighters need to be people who not only reflect our communities but also want to put something back into those communities. We are an equal opportunities employer that welcomes applications from all sections of the community.
The first step to becoming a Firefighter starts with our online application form. This is where you fill in your personal details and explain how you meet the eligibility criteria.
You must fully complete all sections before submitting the application, it is important you complete the availability section accurately. The application form provided is the only accepted format of application; therefore please do not email a CV or covering letter with your application.
If you have any questions or queries about the application form please email email@example.com.
This stage involves completing two timed assessments, you will require internet access from a computer to complete the assessments. You will be emailed a link to complete the assessments from our provider SHL, please check your junk folder if not received.
The two assessments are as follows -
Verbal Reasoning Verbal Reasoning Assessments are designed to measure your ability to understand written information and to evaluate arguments about this information.
Calculation Calculation Assessments are designed to assess your understanding of mathematical equations and your ability to solve problems.
Extra time can be added if a candidate has additional requirements. These should be identified on application in order to assist making the appropriate arrangements. Statements should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice assessments are available here
Hints and tips
- It is a time bound assessment so ensure that you have no distractions whiles completing the test.
- Ensure you complete the practice assessments first
- If the assessment freezes, contact the recruitment team immediately or in the morning if you have done the test late at night.
- Ideally use a computer to carry out the assessment
- Ensure that you have a pen, paper and calculator to hand when you complete the assessment
- Ensure you are in a quiet room/area away from distractions
- Consider completing the two assessments at separate times
If you are successful at this stage of the process your application will be passed for an eligibility assessment.
The next stage of the process is to invite successful applicants to a practical assessment session. Each session will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
The role of a Firefighter is physically demanding and so it is important for us to assess your ability to handle the situations and challenges you will face.
Once you have arrived and registered you will receive a briefing. For the assessments you will be wearing full fire kit including helmet, tunic, leggings, boots and gloves. You will begin the session by completing a warm-up before undertaking the practical tests. There will be 7 practical assessments. These will include:
- Ladder Climb - This aims to assess your confidence with heights.
- Casualty Evacuation - This aims to assess your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
- Ladder Lift - This aims to assess your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
- Confined Space - Working in enclosed spaces is sometimes required when working as a Firefighter. This assessment is designed to test your confidence, agility and stamina working in these conditions.
- Equipment Assembly - This assessment is designed to assess your manual dexterity and co-ordination.
- Equipment Carry - This aims to assess your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
- Ladder Extension – This assessment aims to test your upper body strength and your co-ordination.
Upon successfully passing the practical assessments you will be invited to attend an interview.
Applicants will undertake a structured interview based on the Firefighter job description and person specification. The interview will last for approximately one hour.
A preparation booklet will be emailed to you when you are invited to this stage.
We need you to take a full medical assessment prior to joining us. We will need you to meet the nationally agreed health and fitness standards for the physically demanding and potentially hazardous role of a Firefighter and to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
The tests that will be completed on the day will include:
- A check of your blood pressure and heart rate
- Checks of your height, weight and body mass index
- A hearing test
- A vision test
- A test of your lung function
- A drugs and alcohol test
The aerobic fitness test will comprise of undertaking the Chester Treadmill Walk test. More information can be found here. You must complete this 12 minute test to achieve an aerobic fitness level of 42 VO2 max.
You’re almost there! We will now need to check your references. We will also need to carry out an enhanced check under the Disclosure and Barring Service and complete a DVLA check. These checks will be carried out by the Human Resources team.
If these clearances are deemed satisfactory at all of these areas you will be offered a place on the training course subject to there being a place available.
You have made it! You will now begin the initial modular training course to become a Firefighter. Further details of what this training will involve are detailed below:
- Pumps and ladders
- Breathing apparatus and fire behaviour
- Road traffic collision
- Trauma care
- Hazardous materials
- Specialist rescue
The course will be over a 14-week period involving a variety of day and evening sessions. Further information regarding the next On-Call modular course can be requested from email@example.com.