Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Insight Day

Aspiring firefighters from Truro and Penwith College have been given the opportunity to experience Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s recruitment and selection process in a new initiative that is the first of its kind.

Groups of students from Truro and Penwith College’s Public Services Level 3 Extended Diploma recently took part in a series of Insight Days at Tolvaddon Community Fire Station, which were organised and run by Apprentice Firefighters from the College. All students from the course had the opportunity to experience a day working as a firefighter while providing the practical experience needed to complete the fitness testing and training unit of their Extended Diploma.

On each Insight Day, students were put through a range of tests including fitness tests, dexterity tests, hose drills and techniques to aim the hose, some of which the students had to complete during torrential rain and hail, showing their dedication to the exercises. Students were also given the opportunity to experience fighting their way through a confined space with a breathing apparatus (BA) set in an exercise that simulated what it may be like to enter a burning building with the use of a fogged up visor and a caged obstacle course known as the rat run.

Student climbing the ladder on the drill tower.

Public Services student climbing the ladder on the drill tower.

Students were also given the opportunity to climb the ladder on the drill tower, simulating various tasks they might have to undergo during emergencies or ‘shouts’ such as climbing up a ladder to access a multi-storey building. Tours of the fire station and control room added to the experience, along with a talk from the Station Manager and a surprise call out, giving the students a complete glimpse into life as a firefighter.

The programme was organised and delivered by Truro and Penwith College Apprentices who work at CFRS as part of the only firefighting Apprenticeship programme in Cornwall. The Apprentices delivered four insight days in total to different groups, which will help them towards the Teamwork and Leadership unit of their Apprenticeship programme.

Public Services student taking part in the 'equipment carry' fitness test.

Public Services student taking part in the 'equipment carry' fitness test.

Nathan Starkey, Apprentice Firefighter with Truro and Penwith College, led the students through several activities on the day and said, “The purpose of the Insight Days is to introduce students to the physical tests and various activities that they’d be required to take part in if they were to apply for a job in the fire service.

“Throughout the day we showed the Public Services students a bit of marching to improve their non-verbal communication skills as well as several fitness tests such as ladder climbs, the confined space drill and an equipment carry to give them an insight into the fitness levels that would be required of them as firefighters.”

Firefighting Apprentices giving the students instructions for their next task.

Firefighting Apprentices giving the students instructions for their next task.

The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services aims to prepare students for entering into and working within the services and days such as this help to give the students the best possible insight and exposure to these potential careers.

Similarly, the College’s firefighter Apprenticeship programme is the perfect progression route for those dreaming of a career with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

Harry took part in the Insight Day and said, “I’ve always had a passion to become a Firefighter so it was really interesting to see all the different tests and fitness requirements you need to meet in order to join the Fire Service. Having the Firefighter Apprentices lead the Insight Day was really beneficial because they’ve all gone through these tests and have experienced the recruitment process themselves so can help prepare you for what to expect.”

Public Services student throwing the hose.

Public Services student throwing the hose.

The Firefighting Apprenticeship with Truro and Penwith College and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service began in 2017. The role enables the Apprentices to attend incidents with the crew and they are also given opportunities to gain extra qualifications such as a line technician course.

I’m so glad I chose the Apprenticeship route because both the College and CFRS have given me opportunities far beyond my expectations. I would definitely recommend an Apprenticeship to others.

Nathan, Apprentice Firefighter

For more information about Apprenticeships with Truro and Penwith College and Cornwall Council, please visit: www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/apprenticeships and www.cornwall.gov.uk/apprenticeships.