Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Fire Service first apprentice firefighters pass with flying colours

In January 2019, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service introduced an apprenticeship programme as part of its wholetime firefighter training course to equip new firefighters with qualifications.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s first squad to embark on the apprenticeship started their training course in January 2019 and spent the next 24 months completing a Level 3 Operational Firefighting qualification.

Working alongside training delivery partner Colchester Institute, the apprenticeship aimed to support, develop and assess firefighters to national standards in the first 24 to 30 months of their career.

The squad has received its results from the End Point Assessment, a 60 question paper which is based on national operational guidance, a 6 hour practical observation followed by a 60 minute professional discussion.

All of the firefighters passed with flying colours with full marks all round.

Watch Manager Steve Kirkham, Apprentice Manager said: “The cohort has worked extremely hard throughout their journey, the standard required to pass this is extremely high.

“The 100% success rate is testament to the group’s hard work and professionalism. This is an amazing achievement for them at the start of the careers and will set them up for continued success in making Essex a safe place to live, work and travel.”

Firefighter Kieran Godfree from Brentwood Fire Station was part of the first squad to start the Level 3 Operational Firefighting Apprenticeship.

Kieran, who came from a background of A&E nursing, said he is pleased he overcame challenges as the new apprenticeship was being established.

He said: “As we were the first group to take part in the programme we inevitably faced challenges and teething problems, alongside completing it during a global pandemic.

“I observed courage and professionalism within my squad to overcome such difficulties, this led to the formation of the new Apprenticeship Trailblazer Team, which can only assist in making the programme a better experience for all.”

Kieran said the apprenticeship has given him a greater understanding of the duties of a modern firefighter and how research and Government legislation leads to improvements, as well as increasing his confidence in his own knowledge and skills.

He urged anyone on an apprenticeship or thinking of applying for one to take the time to enjoy what they are learning and be resilient if they encounter challenges.

He said: “Apprenticeships aren’t easy but don’t let them be a burden; find the time to enjoy the work-life balance and remember that communication with your manager and apprenticeship team is key.”

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting wholetime firefighters. Find out more about the role and the different routes your career can take as a firefighter at

Photo: Some of the squad at their passing out parade at ECFRS' Service Training Centre in Witham in 2019

Page last updated 5 March, 2021

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