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Wholetime Firefighter Apprentices Graduate at Maidenhead Ceremony

A group photo of Firefighter graduates, instructors and Dignataries.

On Friday, 10 May 2024, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) welcomed 17 new Wholetime Firefighters during a Graduation Ceremony at Maidenhead Fire Station.

The graduates celebrated months of training and hard work, alongside family and friends at the Ceremony, and were presented with certificates by Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Bowcock, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Jeff Brooks, and High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Mr Alexander Barfield.

Much like previous Wholetime recruitment, anyone, from any background or walk of life could apply to be a Firefighter Apprentice, as 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.

There were also two special awards presented during the ceremony. The Endeavour Award is presented to the Firefighter that has demonstrated the most effort to improve during the course. This was awarded to Firefighter Jimi Loten by High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Mr Alexander Barfield.

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 Chloe Sansom by Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer.

Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, said: “It is with immense pride that we welcome the latest group of 17 Apprentices into their roles as Wholetime Firefighters, ready to serve our communities.

“They are joining an organisation which is firmly committed to providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for them to thrive in.

“This is just the beginning of their journey, and in taking up their new roles they inherit a proud tradition. I know they will do their very best to continue to deliver an excellent public service to the people of Royal Berkshire.”

Councillor Jeff Brooks, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “I am delighted to welcome the latest Wholetime Firefighters to the Service, as part of the Graduation Ceremony.

“I know it means a great deal to all of them, as they will now be able to proudly refer to themselves as Firefighters with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, a role which is one of the most sought after, respected and dynamic careers.

“They join a supportive team of highly skilled colleagues, and together I have no doubt that they will continue to maintain the excellent standard of service that is provided to residents of Royal Berkshire.”

As part of the Apprenticeship, the recruits are asked to organise an event to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. This year they raised around £7000 when they collectively cycled 488 miles on static bikes at – the Lexicon in Bracknell on Saturday, 4 May 2024. The distance was chosen to represent the area of Berkshire in square miles.

Following Friday’s Graduation Ceremony, the Apprentices will take up their station placements across the County. Their development will continue in their role and it is anticipated the Apprenticeships will be complete within 24 months from the start date.

The Service is currently running career discovery sessions up to the end of June to help others decide if the role of a firefighter is for them. Please visit for more information.