WMFS is set to recruit around 50 new firefighters, with an online application process which started on Monday 8 December 2014.
The brigade is gearing up for thousands of applicants to visit its website in the hope of becoming one of the 1,322 wholetime firefighters who keep the West Midlands safe.
Would-be applicants have until 11.59pm on 22 December to complete their applications. In a first for WMFS, all initial written tests will be completed online. Those who make it through the first stage will be invited to take part in practical tests and interviews in January, followed by medicals in February.
Two-month training courses will be staggered throughout 2015. The first is due to start in March, with successful candidates joining their fire station in late April or early May.
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We have lost 275 firefighters in four years as a result of cuts of £22 million in government funding. We’re recruiting now to maintain our minimum number of 1,322 firefighters. This will keep our fire stations open and fire appliances ‘on the run’, so that we can hit our target of reaching life-threatening incidents in five minutes.”
Area Commander Sarah Warnes, the brigade’s Strategic Enabler for People, said: “We’re really excited to be starting the search for 50 new firefighters. We get enquiries every day from people who want to join the brigade, and we’re expecting large numbers of applicants for these highly-skilled, professional roles.
“We pride ourselves on providing an emergency response service that’s second to none, and our vital prevention work in people’s homes and at the heart of our communities. We offer an amazing range of careers and opportunities within WMFS, and are committed to developing all of our staff to help them provide an excellent service. Around 80 per cent of our firefighters stay with us for 20-plus years.
“During our last recruitment campaign we saw a significant rise in the number of applications from women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. We are keen for this to continue and welcome applications from all members of our diverse communities.
“We’ll be looking for candidates who fully understand what today’s fire and rescue service is about. They’ll be passionate about everything we do – from operational fire-fighting, rescue and regular training, through to our vital prevention and education work, and our daily efforts to protect the West Midlands’ more vulnerable people.”
Would-be firefighters need to be at least 17½-years-old at the time of their application, with a GCSE Grade C or equivalent in English and maths. The current joining salary is £21,799 rising to £22,706 during development and £29,054 when competent.
Online applicants will be asked to register their personal details and qualifications, and to answer a series of questions to assess their eligibility and suitability, and their ability to understand information, work with numbers and solve problems.
The practical training course focuses on using breathing apparatus, hoses, ladders, hydraulic rescue equipment, fire-fighting techniques and trauma management. The theory covers subjects such as building construction, hydraulics, chemistry and combustion.
The recruitment section of the brigade’s website contains useful information about the role of a firefighter, to help potential applicants decide if it’s the job for them before starting their online application. Visit www.wmfs.net/content/careers