After 18 months of intensive training, Kath, Lesley, Emma, Jessy, Tom, Jack and Georgie are now full-time competent members of Fire Control at the MFRS control room in Bootle, where they are responsible for responding to requests for assistance from the public, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The group of seven each achieving top marks represents an impressive first for MFRS – the first time an entire cohort of apprentice emergency call handlers have received coveted distinctions.
Ashley Roberts is responsible for overseeing apprenticeship programmes at MFRS, supporting apprentices throughout their journey, whether they are learning to become Firefighters, Community Safety Advisors or work in Fire Control. She said:“Following 18 months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted that all of our apprentices have passed their End Point Assessment with flying colours. On behalf of all here at Merseyside Fire & Rescue, I want to congratulate them all on their amazing achievements.”
MFRS’ Level 3 Apprenticeship in Emergency Contact Handling is a relatively new pathway into the profession, offering candidates the best of both worlds in terms of classroom learning and hands-on experience, Apprenticeships Manager Ashley said: “An apprenticeship is designed to put learners through their paces and prepare them to hit the ground running once they enter their chosen careers.
“Having undergone intensive on-the-job and in-classroom training, apprentices are assessed on their response to calls and technical knowledge, as well as other vital topics such as GDPR and fire survival guidance.
“Being an emergency call handler involves exposure to difficult and traumatic situations and requires excellent decision-making and interpersonal skills. This experience means a well-rounded apprenticeship programme. It is the perfect platform to launch a career in this challenging and vital role. The role of Fire Control in developing their team has been critical. The dedication of our Fire Control Station Manager is demonstrated in the outstanding results.”
Jack, who worked for his own business before joining the service in February of last year, said: “The apprenticeship prepares you to take that first step into the control room and to put that headset on and take your first 999 call.
“It’s quite exciting – you’re doing the job you love, but at the same time you’re taking the time out to learn.”
Kit Salt is Head of End Point Assessment at SFJ Awards, the organisation responsible for assessing thousands of ‘blue light’ apprentices every year, including MFRS.
Paying tribute to the achievements, Kit said: “We’re blown away by the outstanding achievements of Merseyside Fire & Rescue and their amazing apprentices.
“The end-point assessment is a culmination of an apprentices’ journey, whereby they undergo a rigorous assessment to prove they’re up to the job.
“It is remarkable that all seven of Merseyside Fire & Rescue’s apprentice emergency call handlers have achieved distinctions this year and is a testament to their hard work and talent and the fantastic support provided by their employer.”
She adds: “Starting a career in fire and rescue as an apprentice is a truly rewarding experience that stands individuals in good stead for long and successful service. Not only that, anyone can become an apprentice at any age, whether they’ve just left school or are considering a change of career.”
MFRS is currently recruiting apprentices to join its Control Room, with applications closing on 16th September. To find out more about this exciting role, head to www.merseyfire.gov.uk/firecontrolrecruitment