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Wholetime FAQs

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Do I need qualifications to become a Firefighter?

Yes, you will need a minimum of two GCSE grades A* to C in English and Maths or equivalent. If you did not study GCSE's, or for general information and guidance on qualifications, please visit https://www.gov.uk/what-different-qualification-levels-mean/list-of-qualification-levels

Will you accept international qualifications?

We will accept international qualifications as long as they are equivalent to the England and Northern Ireland framework. For information on European qualifications please visit the European Commission website.

Will I need to produce my qualification certificates?

Yes, candidates will be required to bring in their certificates or confirmation from the awarding body. Photocopies will not be accepted. It is the candidates' responsibility to ensure that they have their certificates and failure to show them when required may result in withdrawal from the process.

What if I have lost my certificates?

If you have lost or no longer have your certificates then please visit Ofqual. It is the candidates' responsibility to ensure that they get sufficient evidence of their qualifications within the timeframes of the process.

Why is there a requirement to swim in the criteria?

Water rescue is a specialist role that you may be asked to perform and we need Firefighters to be able to swim and be confident in water.

How long does the selection process take?

The selection process will take approximately 6 months.

If I'm unsuccessful at any stage, can I re-sit?

We do not have the facility to allow candidates to re-sit the process.

How many vacancies do you have?

We are looking to recruit 18 Wholetime Firefighters.

How long is the initial training course?

The initial training course is an assessed full-time course based at our Training Centre in Droitwich, Worcestershire. It is compulsory to attend the full course and successfully pass all parts of the course. The course is continuously reviewed to ensure the content meets the requirements of the role and more details of the course will be available during the recruitment process. The course and induction is just over 11 weeks in duration.

I am an On-Call Firefighter with HWFRS, can I apply?

Yes, you can apply through the normal recruitment process with all other applicants but may be exempt from some stages. You will be required to undertake an operational assessment to determine competence and to assist with planning for a conversion course.

I am looking to transfer from another Fire Service, how do I do this?

Transferees can apply through the normal recruitment process with all other applicants but may be exempt from some stages. You will be required to provide confirmation of your employment and undertake an operational assessment to determine competence and assist with planning for a conversion course.

I've recently passed the Firefighter Selection process with a different Fire and Rescue Service and I am on their holding list. Do I still need to apply and go through your recruitment process?

Yes, our processes may differ from those used within other Fire and Rescue Services and in the interests of fairness, it is vital that all candidates have been assessed in the same way.

What is the minimum and maximum age to become a Firefighter?

The minimum age for joining the Fire Service is 18 years old, which you must be at the start of the training course. There is no maximum age limit.

Would somebody's physical size have any bearing on their application?

A candidate's physical size does not have any bearing on their application. This is a popular misconception due to the fact that there used to be restrictions on height, weight and chest expansion. Candidates are expected to pass strength and fitness tests as part of the process. These are at a level that is achievable by men and women of all different sizes and builds.

Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

You will be able to apply and as part of the application, you are required to declare any convictions for offences that are not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Do I need a driving licence?

You may regularly drive so you must have a full and current UK driving licence.

I am learning to drive at the moment, and have my test booked in a few months' time. Can I still apply?

In order to apply you must have a full and current driving licence that entitles you to drive in the UK without restrictions.

Do I have to be a British Citizen?

You can be of any nationality to apply, provided that you have the permanent right to remain without restriction in the UK. EU citizens are automatically eligible to apply. You will be required to supply evidence of your right to work in the UK during the recruitment process.

I have dyslexia; can I have additional time to complete the online tests?

You will be asked if you have dyslexia and require reasonable adjustments on the application form. We will contact you about your reasonable adjustments and you may need to provide evidence of your dyslexia dependent on the adjustments you indicate you require.

When will I find out if I'm successful in the online tests?

If you are successful you will be notified by e-mail. The e-mail will include information about what will happen next.

I have a disability. Can I still become a Firefighter?

Anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the Fire Service. You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to give details of the type of adjustments you may require in order to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a Firefighter, should you be successful. We review each case on an individual basis, and will consider the reasonable adjustments that can be made to enable you to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a Firefighter.

How fit do you have to be to become a Firefighter?

You will need to be reasonably fit, and be able to maintain this throughout your career as a Firefighter. You will be required to undertake a fitness test to determine your aerobic capacity is at least a VO 2 max level of 42.

I have a medical condition which I think may exclude me. How do I find out?

You will need to declare your medical condition, giving as much information as possible on your declaration of health form. Our Occupational Health provider will get information from your GP and / or further Consultants etc as appropriate and each case is taken on its own consideration.

I wear glasses or have had laser eye surgery. Can I apply?

Yes. Firefighters require good vision in both eyes and part of the recruitment process will include an eye test. Our Occupational Health provider will determine whether your vision meets the standards to become a Firefighter. If you have had laser eye surgery, it is currently recommended that entry to the Service should be postponed for 12 months following surgery for stabilisation.

Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a Firefighter?

Firefighters should have an appropriate level of colour perception. The recommended test procedure uses the Ishihara test as the initial screen. We will seek further specialist advice if you fail this screening to determine the severity and type of colour vision deficiency.

Can I choose which Fire Station I work at?

Unfortunately, no. Candidates will be placed at stations where there are vacancies. Firefighters may also be required to transfer and work at other stations across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

I live outside of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, can I still apply?

Yes, we have no restrictions with regards to your residence.

I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a Firefighter?

HWFRS respects everyone's religious beliefs but staff who may be working, or have the potential to work in a safety critical environment must adhere to certain personal safety procedures regarding facial hair.

As a Firefighter you will be required to wear a facial mask when you are wearing breathing apparatus. To ensure that the mask forms an air-tight seal around the face, it is necessary to keep the face shaven to prevent any dangerous contaminant from entering the facial mask. Therefore, facial hair should not interfere with the air-tight seal of the facial mask.

My faith requires me to allocate certain times of the day for prayer. Will this be accommodated?

Due to the nature of the role, there may be times when this is not possible. However, we actively support employees who wish to pray at work to balance their individual beliefs with operational needs. Fasting Firefighters always ensure that both their colleagues and they remain safe by actively managing their energy and hydration levels where necessary.

Would I be able to keep my dreadlocks?

Yes. Dreadlocks (including braids, cornrows, plaits etc.) like any employee's hair, needs to be kept tidy and not interfere with your personal protective Firefighting uniform. These rules help keep Firefighters safe.

Are the recruitment standards different for men compared to women?

No. The assessments are the same for both genders.

Is it acceptable to have tattoos or piercing?

For health and safety reasons, all piercings must be removed before commencing practical assessments and operational duty.

Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.

Can I have a second job?

We have a policy on secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in this without first obtaining written approval.


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