Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) will be recruiting full-time firefighters for the first time in eight years, with applications available for aspiring firefighters to download for one week only from Tuesday 2nd May.
The service is looking for the brightest and best to take part in a training school this October.
AF&RS currently employs 455 fulltime or ‘wholetime’ firefighters – a number that has been falling since 2010.
As a result of reduced Government funding firefighters leaving or retiring from the Service have not been replaced.
As any further reductions in the operational headcount would take the Service below its minimum crewing levels, Avon Fire Authority recently approved the recruitment of 16 new firefighters.
Under the campaign slogan ‘Yes you can’ AF&RS is now working to attract applications from across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Simon Shilton said: “This is a rare and exciting opportunity to join a fantastic organisation and begin a wonderful career.
“As well as the role played at emergencies, firefighters now have a much broader job, in particular working with people in our communities to reduce the risk of emergencies happening in the first place.
“This is now a role where you can save a life in so many different ways, from helping someone at a road traffic collision or other emergency to providing education in homes, schools and workplaces to keep people safer.”
During the campaign the service will be encouraging applications from groups currently under-represented within the workforce, particularly women and people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds.
ACFO Shilton added: “We think it’s really important that our workforce is representative of the communities we serve. At the moment only 4.9% or our wholetime firefighters are women and 4.4% from BME backgrounds – both well below the averages in our area.
“We will be taking additional steps to ensure we raise awareness of firefighting as a career among under-represented groups as we want the very best people to be our next generation of firefighters.
“It’s about ensuring the pool of talent we have to choose from is as wide as possible and encouraging people to apply who perhaps never thought a career in the fire and rescue service is for them.”
Four recruitment awareness events will be held in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire which will provide the opportunity for women and people from BME backgrounds to learn more about why being a firefighter could be a job for them.
ACFO Shilton said: “The ‘Yes you can’ campaign is aimed at people who have all the physical and personal attributes to be a firefighter, but maybe think they can’t do it – our message is simple, yes you can!
“There are lots of myths about becoming a firefighter. Of course you need to be fit and have good upper body strength, but with training that can be achieved.
“Our role is now much wider than the work we do at emergencies, so we’re also looking for people who are good at solving problems, great communicators and passionate about helping their community to name but a few of the qualities of a modern firefighter.
“Fully qualified firefighters earn £29,000, have the opportunity to learn and be promoted, have amazing variety in their jobs and have the satisfaction of knowing they make a real difference every day.”