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Fire Minister hosts virtual meeting with apprentices to mark National Apprenticeship Week

15 February 2022

LORD STEPHEN Greenhalgh, the Minister for Building Safety and Fire, has hosted a virtual meeting with apprentices from across UK Fire and Rescue Services to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

Eight Fire and Rescue Service employees, who are currently undertaking or have recently completed apprenticeships in a variety of disciplines, were invited to join the virtual meeting on Thursday 10 February. They spoke about their Fire and Rescue Service journey so far and also focused on how the apprenticeship programme has helped them to realise their career goals, as well as their aspirations for the future.

Six fire-specific apprenticeships have been developed covering the roles of Operational Firefighter, Fire Safety Inspector, Community Safety Advisor, Fire Safety Engineer, Emergency Services Call Handler and Business Fire Safety Advisor.

To date, more than 1,800 Fire and Rescue Service employees have completed apprenticeships since the programme was rolled out in 2018, while another 1,400 are undertaking apprenticeships. This is as a result of a programme of work conducted by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to develop fire-specific apprenticeships and support Fire and Rescue Services in respect of their introduction and ongoing implementation.

The delivery of a newly enhanced endpoint assessment service for Fire and Rescue Services, which was developed by the NFCC in partnership with the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, has further strengthened commitment to the use of apprenticeships as a route for entry.

Under the EPA Partnership, the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service will continue to offer endpoint assessments for the Operational Firefighter apprenticeship and all other fire-specific apprenticeships moving forward.

Commitment to support

Ann Millington, CEO at the Kent Fire and Rescue Service and chair of the NFCC’s People Programme, said: “It’s really encouraging to see so many Fire and Rescue Services in England committing to provide support for the apprenticeship programme and benefiting from the many opportunities this delivers in terms of them being seen as ‘employers of choice’.”  

Millington continued: “Apprenticeships present opportunities to improve diversity and inclusivity within the workforce by offering entry routes for individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of experience and educational attainment. They also provide retraining and career progression opportunities for those already working within the fire sector, enabling them to reach their full potential and providing a sound base of skills and attributes within the Fire and Rescue Service.”