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Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes

Fire & Rescue Service Apprenticeship


If you can bring a dedicated ‘can do’ attitude and a willingness to learn, we can pave the way to a rewarding career in Fire and Rescue.

At Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, we have a duty to our community to Prevent, Protect and Respond.

If you feel that you can make the same commitment to our public, then we have launched a new apprenticeship scheme to help you on your way.

We are looking for hard working and committed individuals to become Firefighter Apprentices. You’ll earn a proper wage, gain a Level Three NVQ Diploma, Level Three BTEC and, after two years, be ready take on a role as a fully-fledged Firefighter.

You don’t need any previous firefighting experience, just the right hard-working attitude and a determination to be the best.

Do you have what it takes?

The Scheme

Our Firefighter Apprenticeship Scheme has been carefully designed to provide a complete training experience for aspirational firefighters. However, this is by no means just a training role, you’ll play a key role in an operational fire station.

For each of the positions available, you’ll receive a wide range of training on all aspects of the job. This will include a 10-week foundation training, five of which will be based at the Fire Service College in Gloucester. This part of the training will be residential, requiring you to stay at the college Monday to Friday each week.

After your foundation training, you will be assigned to a station at which point you will learn on the job from members of the team. Throughout the process, you will work towards a Level Three NVQ Diploma and a Level Three BTEC, both in Emergency Fire Services Operations in the Community.


During your work in station, you will be required to work varying shifts depending on which station you are assigned to. These varied shifts will include daily routines, drills and e-learning and training sessions. Firefighting is a varied role that includes operational incidents, community engagement, inspection of premises and ongoing training.

Your performance will be assessed through:

  • On the job observations
  • Written assessments
  • Evidence of duties / tasks performed
  • Reports from mentors and managers
  • Assessments in English, Maths and IT
  • Production of an e-portfolio of evidence

As well as gaining crucial experience and expert training, apprentices will also be paid an annual salary of £16,425.

*You will be employed by Encompass, an Apprentice Training Agency, and seconded to Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire Authority for your workplace training and development.

About You

It goes without saying that our Fire and Rescue Service needs to be filled with the best firefighters. This is how we make sure that our community are safe at all times.

We don’t expect you to possess all the skills when you start your apprenticeship, but we need to see that you have the potential to be the best once you finish.

We’re looking for people with positive attitudes, eager to learn and determined to achieve. Excellent communication skills are a must as well as the ability to be a crucial member of any team that you’re a part of.

As we only have a limited number of spaces, we are only looking for people with a genuine passion for Fire and Rescue. We’re looking for people with a determination to join this service and learn how to be an incredible firefighter.

This is a hands-on, physical job so you will need to be able to achieve a good level of physical fitness.

To be eligible for our apprenticeship scheme, you’ll need to be 18  or over by the start date with GCSEs in Maths and English (A*-C), hold a driving license and live within the county of Buckinghamshire or 20 miles of its border.

If the above sounds like you, we look forward to meeting you.


“The key positive feature about apprenticeship scheme is that it has enabled people to be able to join the fire service; specifically allowing younger people into a service which is so competitive to get into. It’s a career like no other where you feel you can make a difference and help the community in such a multitude of ways; It is a physically and mentally fulfilling job role to perform and there are always new and challenging situations to come across every day, this is why I applied.  The best part about the job is the people we work with and the lifelong friendships that we have created with our watches. Everyone is always willing to help, teach and advise us along the way to help us become the best firefighter we can be.  During this apprenticeship scheme, we are doing the same job as everybody else and learning as we go, this way we get a realistic experience of the job we have applied for.”

Beth Hawkins – Firefighter


I had always wanted to join the fire service, when Bucks first advertised the apprenticeship scheme, I expressed my interest and attended a ‘Have A Go Day’, the level of support and professionalism from all the staff I met convinced me that it was the job I wanted to join.

I am enjoying the apprenticeship scheme greatly, working in the fire service is a truly fulfilling and enjoyable profession with never a dull moment, the other firefighters and the working environment make coming to work a joy.

The opportunities the apprentice scheme has opened are endless, being given the opportunity to work in the fire service; responding to incidents, educating the community and working on station has been a great professional and personal opportunity.

Will Tyldesley – Firefighter 



We have devised an application process that will allow you to show exactly why you’re the type of candidate that we’re looking for.

Initial Application

To start with we will simply ask for some basic information about yourself, your academic and employment history and some references. On top of this, we’ll ask some key questions to make sure you fill the criteria to be a successful firefighter.

Further Application

If you’re successful at the first stage, we’ll ask you to apply for the role via the National Apprenticeship Service website, giving you a chance to show what type of person you are. This will be an opportunity to show that you fit the role. We’ll also carry out some personal quality assessments.

Role Related Tests

Next, we’ll invite you in for some practical testing. These will involve:

  • Extending and lowering a 13.5m ladder
  • A ladder climb to see if you can handle heights
  • Raising and lowering a ladder
  • A shuttle run, carrying various equipment
  • Navigating a course to test for claustrophobia and ability to be safe with obscured vision


During an hour-long interview process, you’ll be asked to give a 15-minute presentation based around a topic you’re interested in or a hobby. This will allow us to learn a bit more about you and determine whether you’re right for the scheme.

We’ll then do some further personal quality assessments as well as test your knowledge of Bucks Fire and Rescue as an organisation.

Finally, we’ll carry out a full medical to determine if you’re medically fit enough to be a firefighter.



Have you got what it takes?

Could you be one of our firefighter apprentices?

Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority (BMKFA) is recruiting Firefighter apprentices.

The apprentices will be employed by Encompass, an Apprentice Training Agency, and seconded to BMKFA for their workplace training and development.

Firefighter apprentices will be trained to the Emergency Fire Service Operations Level 3 qualification.


What are the entry requirements?

To be eligible to apply for the apprenticeship scheme, you will need to have GCSE’s in Maths and English A* – C and be at least 18 years old by the start date. In addition we are looking for candidates who demonstrate:

  • A ‘Can Do’ attitude
  • A keen interest in Fire and Rescue Services
  • A willingness to learn
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of people
  • The ability to work in a team environment
  • The ability to achieve a good level of physical fitness

Firefighters currently work various shift based systems; an example of one involves working 2 days followed by 2 nights, then 4 days off. An apprentice firefighter must be prepared to work days, nights, weekends and bank holidays as required.


What qualifications will you achieve?

During this apprenticeship you will achieve the following qualifications:

  • Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Emergency Fire Services Operations in the Community
  • Level 3 Diploma in Emergency Fire and Rescue Services Operations in the Community
  • Functional Skills in English; Maths and IT
  • Personal learning and thinking skills
  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities


How will I be assessed during the apprenticeship scheme?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways which could include:

  • On the job observations
  • Written assessments
  • Evidence of your duties / tasks performed
  • Reports from mentors and managers
  • Assessments in English; Maths and IT
  • Production of an e-portfolio of evidence

What happens after the apprenticeship?

At the end of the 2 year apprenticeship scheme, we will work closely with the apprentice to identify the next steps, this could include:

  • A job within Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority
  • Further or higher education
  • Work with another Fire Service


Recruitment Process

Detailed below are the stages of the recruitment process, only those successful at the previous stage will move on to the next:

  • Web application & initial sift
  • Application via National Apprenticeship Service website & sift with Encompass/ proof of qualifications
  • Role related testing
  • Interview, presentation, group exercise
  • Medicals and DBS checks
  • Offer of employment
  • Apprentice start


Basic Training Course

Successful candidates will be required to attend a 10-week basic training course, five weeks of which will be based at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire; this part of the training course will be residential, requiring you to stay at the college Monday through to Friday each week.


Equality of Opportunity

We welcome applications from people of any race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.

As women and members of ethnic minority groups are currently under-represented within our operational firefighter group, we would encourage applications from members of these groups.

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

If you have any questions relating to the apprenticeship scheme, please do not hesitate to contact the apprenticeships team on apprenticeships@bucksfire.gov.uk or 01296 744 626.


Guidance Notes