LONDON FIRE Brigade (LFB) announced that the campaign was the biggest ‘in over six years’, with 400 people sought for firefighter posts.
In its posting about the recruitment campaign, launched today, LFB stated that it was ‘searching for 400 people to start their career as a firefighter and develop into other firefighting specialisms’, including technical rescue, fire investigation and community prevention. It estimated that it needed around 7,000 applicants to ‘obtain the people we need’, with an outreach team established to ‘go out into the community to talk about the numerous career opportunities that firefighting offers’.
Additionally, recruitment days will be held at fire stations to offer ‘guidance and practise tests to help prepare people for the application process’, with ability tests on skills including problem solving, physical strength and communication. Applicants must be UK or EU citizens without work restrictions and a permanent UK resident, and need to pass ‘certain rigorous’ tests as mentioned, as well as medical and eye examinations, with an age limit of 17.5 years old.
Recently London Fire Authority members approved suspending the ‘London residency requirement for applicants’, as well as removing the requirement to have a driver’s licence, with applicants that succeed expected only to pass an LGV test within the first three years of employment. It is also looking into how its fire cadet scheme ‘can establish an apprenticeship pathway’ given that ‘nearly half of graduate fire cadets are women’.
If chosen, applicants begin with a pre learning programme and initial theory, lasting six weeks, while a second stage combines classroom and practical sessions to assess theory and practical skills, while the third and final stage focuses on job development and consolidation of learning. This takes place at a fire station, with 18 to 36 months needed to ‘confirm competence’ in addition to two two day workshops to ‘confirm that knowledge and understanding has been retained’.
Dany Cotton, commissioner of LFB, stated: ‘There is no more important time to become a firefighter in London. The five terrorist attacks and the tragic Grenfell blaze this year has shown that our firefighters must be prepared to deal with every eventuality that can occur in our capital. Tackling fires, though, is now thankfully a smaller part of a firefighter’s role than ever before.
‘Modern firefighting is so much more than tackling fires. In any given day you could be helping to stabilise the driver at a road traffic collision, pumping out water of a flooded property or fitting smoke alarms that save the life of an elderly Londoner. For those that go on to choose to follow specialist firefighting careers paths you could travel the world rescuing people from collapsed buildings, solve the causes of complex fires with the service’s fire investigation team and help prevent fires and save lives through face-to-face community safety work.
‘With our new campaign we hope to reach those people who never thought of firefighting as a career for them. Firefighting is a job for all and we especially want to reach women and black minority ethnic people as we strive to better reflect the communities we work in.’
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: ‘London’s firefighters do one of the most important jobs there is – helping to keep the rest of us safe. This year they have played a critical and heroic role in responding to deadly terrorist attacks and tackling the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but this is only a small proportion of their tireless work to protect and support London’s communities.
‘Forget the stereotypes, London Fire Brigade is targeting women and all of London’s BAME communities and I want it to become as diverse as the city it serves. So even if you’ve never thought of a career as a firefighter before, I encourage all Londoners to see what there is to offer and think about becoming one of London’s most valued employees