Last month Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) ran a flagship internship programme – The Chairman’s Internship Scheme. As part of this new initiative, ten young people from across the county joined the Service for five-week placements.
As RBFRS continues to work towards an inclusive culture of equality and diversity, the Chairman’s Internship Scheme encourages young people who may not have considered a career in the fire and rescue sector to explore some of the many roles available to them.
This particular scheme was therefore open to young people from Berkshire who are aged 16-18 and from ethnic groups that are currently under-represented in the Service. From 50 applications, 20 candidates were shortlisted and 10 young people offered placements for the first intake of the three-year pilot scheme. During their five weeks, interns took part in a number of different activities, aimed at increasing their awareness of the range of work undertaken by colleagues across the Service. The interns visited four different stations over the course of their placements, where crews and cadet instructors led a range of activities that provided both informative learning input as well as fun demonstrations and competitions. Interns also contributed to work in their designated departments, and took part in career development sessions and core skills courses to support their future ambitions.
At the end of the five weeks, interns were presented with certificates at an event to celebrate the completion of their internships. They each worked in small groups to present back to those in attendance about their experiences throughout the summer, including what they had learnt about RBFRS as well as their own challenges and successes.
Nikki Richards, Deputy Chief Executive at RBFRS said: “It’s been a pleasure to welcome these 10 incredibly talented young people into the Service over the past several weeks. During their time with us they’ve proactively engaged with staff across different departments, developed important professional skills and supported the delivery of our services.
“This was the first year of a three year pilot programme but we are already starting to see some benefits. We have gathered excellent insight into working with young people and their broader communities that will not only help us deliver a better service but also hopefully broaden recruitment pathways into the Service.”
Councillor Morag Malvern, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Honorary Champion on Royal Berkshire Fire Authority said: “We were thrilled to welcome this group of young people to RBFRS over the summer period.
“The majority of them had never considered a role in the fire service, and so this programme provided an insight into the diverse roles available in the fire service at a time when these young people may be thinking about their futures.”
The Scheme was developed using direct feedback from the young people themselves through engagement sessions at local schools and community groups in Berkshire. At these sessions, young people shared their views on the Service and the scheme itself, giving the team a greater understanding of the challenges and motivations that prospective interns may face. To find out more, please visit our website.