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Careers advice ignites students’ passion in the public services

Posted: 08 October 2020

Public services students at West Nottinghamshire College welcomed a Nottinghamshire firefighter last week to talk about all things careers in the fire service.

Firefighter Craig Langton spoke to students about his career journey over the past thirty years which saw him begin as a retained fireman, going on to be a whole-time firefighter for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue.

Craig, who now works in the fire prevention department, works closely with schools and colleges, spoke to over 40 public service students at the college to offer advice on careers within the service and discussed the various functions and job roles which students could go on to do, as well as highlight the range of incidents which firefighters attend on a daily basis.

Students were able to ask questions about the diverse career paths as well as find out more about the kind of personal attributes and strengths which are required in the fire service.

Craig explained how the service employs more than 1,300 employees in a variety of roles including control operators, IT technicians, mechanics, transport staff, HR and media officers and fire prevention officers – with 300 whole-time firefighters on the payroll and many others who are on-call firefighters.

Students learnt more about the job application process which is usually done online. Craig advised students to be very persistent in applying as firefighter roles are very popular and fill up quickly. He spoke about the written test and physical test which applicants who go through to the next stage have to do as well as the physical test, which involves the lifting of ladders onto a fire engine and safely lifting a weight-appropriate mannequin.

BTEC Level 3 Public Services student Molly Whitehead, 16, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, said: “For the past three years I’ve really wanted to pursue a career in the fire service. I very much like the idea of working well in a team and helping people. Craig has advised that I contact my local fire station to ask about volunteering opportunities. As soon as this is possible I’ll definitely be doing this as I think it will be really valuable experience.”

Craig said: “My best advice to any young person seeking to have a career in the fire service is to ensure you have a reasonable level of fitness, have a willingness to be part of a team and maybe try to get involved with some volunteering. And if you succeed in being selected for interview, just be yourself. We like a diverse workforce and want people to be themselves and shine.”

Public services tutor Derek Dawkins said: “The public services team and I would like to say a massive thank you to Craig for taking the time out to offer this support to our students. The input was very insightful and provided our learners with another perspective regarding careers as firefighters and, more widely, employment within the public services.”        

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