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Firefighter apprenticeships attract mid-career changers

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Introduction to firefighter apprenticeships

A common misconception is that apprenticeships are solely for school-leavers entering the workforce for the first time, often in technical or engineering roles.

Nowadays, apprenticeships offer opportunities across a wide range of professions, attracting individuals from various age groups seeking a career change.

Notably, Andy Majer and Josh Manley from Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service are among those who have chosen to pursue a new career path through apprenticeships.

Diverse backgrounds of apprentices

Andy Majer, who served in the Army for 12 years before leaving in 2021, saw a career in fire and rescue as an ideal fit for his next professional chapter.

Initially joining the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Joint Control Room as a call operator, he later seized the opportunity to train as a wholetime firefighter through a Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship.

“I was in the Army for 12 years and I left in 2021, I thought that a career in fire and rescue would be a good fit for me,” said Andy.

Four months into his apprenticeship, Majer is fully committed to his training and eagerly anticipates becoming a full-time firefighter.

Josh Manley’s journey to firefighting

Similarly, Josh Manley, who previously worked as an assistant manager at an outdoor retailer, had always aspired to become a firefighter.

The apprenticeship route provided him with the practical experience and training essential for the role.

“On top of being physically demanding at times, there is a lot of information to take in – you’re always learning and improving which is a great thing, but it can be hard.

“I love being able to experience things not everyone can and testing my own limits,” Manley  shared, highlighting the supportive environment at Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue.

Advice from apprentices

With National Apprenticeship Week (5 – 10 February) underway, both Andy and Josh offer advice to potential apprentices.

Manley encouraged: “Be yourself, ask for help when you need it, create a culture of support with those around you.”

Majer added: “It’s never too late to learn and develop your career through an apprenticeship,” underscoring the inclusivity and benefits of apprenticeships for individuals at any career stage.

IFSJ Comment

The increasing interest in firefighter apprenticeships from those seeking mid-career changes is a testament to the evolving nature of apprenticeship programs.

These programs not only cater to young individuals at the start of their careers but also offer valuable opportunities for experienced professionals seeking to embark on a new career path.

Andy Majer and Josh Manley’s stories exemplify the diverse backgrounds and motivations of individuals entering the firefighting profession through apprenticeships.

Their experiences highlight the adaptability, learning opportunities, and supportive environment provided by such programs, reinforcing the notion that it is never too late to pursue a new professional direction.

As apprenticeships continue to break traditional age barriers, they become a pivotal pathway for lifelong learning and career development, demonstrating the breadth of opportunities available beyond conventional entry points into the workforce.

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