1. Describe your sector in a nutshell
As a firefighter, you will respond to emergency situations and protect people, the environment and property from all types of accidents and emergencies. At the Airport Fire and Rescue
Service (AFRS), you will also become experts in aircraft rescue and firefighting techniques as well as providing fire safety cover for such things as explosive and ammunition transportation.
2. What are the different career opportunities in the AFRS?
At the AFRS you embark on your career as a Trainee Firefighter moving through a Development phase to eventually become a Competent Firefighter. All firefighters continue studying throughout their career learning specialist skills in the areas of Road Traffic Incidents, Working at Height, Medical First Responders and Breathing Apparatus amongst many others. Everyone is encouraged to also follow a career progression path and take advantage of the promotion opportunities available. Following on from Firefighter, these are: Leading Firefighter, Sub Officer, Station Officer, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) and Divisional Officer (DO).
3. What’s interesting/ fun about your sector?
There are many activities that you will carry out as part of your daily routine at the AFRS which will give you an adrenaline rush! Imagine driving a large 36 tonne fire appliance at high speed down the runway! In general the routine is varied, one moment you could be maintaining equipment and the next, taking part in a disaster simulation exercise. Everyone is encouraged to keep fit and there is a gym at the station for use in quieter moments when the work has been completed. After a while you feel very much part of a family creating close bonds and friendships with your colleagues.
4. What skills/ qualities do you seek in someone wanting to join your sector?
There are nine personal attributes that are particularly important to us, these are:
- Teamwork/ Working with others
- Commitment to Equal Opportunities
- Commitment to excellence
- Commitment to development
- Situational awareness
- Promoting and supporting change
- Effective communication
- Problem solving
5. What is demand looking like in your sector?
At the present moment in time the AFRS is going through a phase of rejuvenation and change and there will be vacancies arising throughout the next few years.
6. What is the approximate salary range people can earn?
- A Trainee Firefighter currently earns £28,153 p/a rising to £37,520 p/a when competent.
- A Leading Firefighter can earn up to £41,598
- After this, a career path is available leading up to the rank of DO.
Apart from your salary you can also earn allowances, substitution and overtime payments.
7. What career pathways are available for a young person wanting to join your sector?
There are several University Degrees currently available such as the BSc (Hons) Fire and Leadership Studies at the University of Central Lancashire or the BSc (Hons) Fire and Rescue at the University of Wolverhampton. These courses don’t guarantee entry into the Fire and Rescue Service but aim to equip students with the necessary skills to pursue a career in the fire industry.
The minimum entry requirements to work at the AFRS are five GCSE’s (or equivalent) including English and Mathematics. All candidates whether holding a degree or not have to pass a rigorous selection process which includes theory exams, physical and practical assessments.
The AFRS also runs a course in Firefighting with the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, which gives students a detailed insight into life as a firefighter at Gibraltar Airport as well as regularly hosting work experience students.
8. Any advice to a young person wanting to join your sector?
If you are a person who instinctively likes helping people and at the same time enjoys an active lifestyle, you are well on the way to knowing that possibly this career is for you. If that is the
case, why not try the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award at the Airport Fire Station, a work experience placement or look for us at the Careers Fair.
After that, if you are still keen, courses in First Aid or Firefighting are always useful.
Keeping fit and healthy are vital for being a firefighter so lead a healthy lifestyle and practice whatever sport you enjoy the most.
Finally, remember that if you really are interested you should not be afraid to contact us and ask about the career that we can offer.