On Friday, 8 April 2022, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) welcomed 18 new Wholetime Firefighters during a graduation ceremony at Whitley Wood Fire Station in Reading, after they successfully completed a 13-week training course.
The graduates celebrated months of training and hard work with family and friends at the ceremony and were presented with certificates by Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer.
For the first time ever, RBFRS has recruited Apprentices into the crucial firefighter role. Much like previous wholetime recruitment, anyone, from any background or walk of life could apply to be a Firefighter Apprentice, so long as they were new to the role.
During the training course, the Firefighter Apprentices were thoroughly tested with a range of practical and theoretical training, core skills, breathing apparatus, fire behaviour, water rescue and road traffic collision training.
Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, said: “After a challenging 13 weeks of training, it gives me immense pride to welcome the latest group of Wholetime Firefighters to Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.”
“In taking up their roles, they inherit a proud tradition of public service, which I know they will honour and respect. They will now be posted to stations across Berkshire, joining a supportive team of highly skilled colleagues to deliver vital services to our communities.”
There were also two special awards presented during the ceremony. The Silver Axe is an award given to the firefighter that has performed to the highest standards throughout the course. This was awarded to Firefighter Ben Russell. The Endeavour Award is presented to the firefighter that has demonstrated the most effort to improve during the course. This was awarded to Firefighter Daniel Medcalf.
Following Friday’s Graduation Ceremony, the Apprentices will take up their station placements across the county. Their development will continue with the support of their line manager, with an apprenticeship talent coach, supported by the Service. It is anticipated the Apprenticeships will be completed within 24 months from the start date.
Notes to editors:
- The Service commissioned an external provider, the Fire Service College (Capita), to train and develop this new group of staff. Capita are approved to deliver the Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship through the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). The Apprentices were thoroughly tested with a range of practical and theoretical training, core skills, breathing apparatus, fire behaviour, water rescue and road traffic collision training.
- Upon completion of the course, the Apprentices returned to the RBFRS Training Centre for a further five weeks with Instructors to help integrate them into our Service’s ways of working. This included specific operational training on our equipment, safeguarding training, organisational awareness training and a host of realistic scenarios to put what they had learnt into practice in a safe environment.
- The Firefighter Apprentices have demonstrated their ongoing commitment during their training in readiness for them to start serving their local communities from our fire stations across the County.