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NFCC direct entry scheme launches

UK firefighter

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The National Fire Chiefs Council Direct Entry Scheme has officially launched. The scheme is designed to enable those with proven leadership skills, from a variety of sectors, to apply for Station Manager roles without needing to have fire service experience or without needing to have taken the traditional firefighter promotional route.

The Fire Service College has partnered with the NFCC and early adopting Direct Entrant services to deliver the training programme. It marks the first time there has been a national, robust, and quality-assured direct entry programme and process.

The primary aim of the scheme is to provide a different route to entry into the role of Station Manager, alongside the more traditional firefighter route, that can play a valuable part in diversifying leadership in fire and rescue services.

A recruitment campaign launched on 3 April through the appointed recruitment experts at Reed Specialist Recruitment Ltd. Those recruited to the roles will be expected to acquire, develop, and demonstrate skills and expertise in management and command functions, as set out for their role in the nationally agreed applicable role maps.

Seven fire and rescue services from across the UK have signed up to join the pioneering pilot to self-fund a direct entrant. Those services are East Sussex FRS, Staffordshire FRS, Oxfordshire FRS, Shropshire FRS, Avon FRS, Leicestershire FRS, and North Wales FRS.

“We hope that the scheme will draw new perspectives and experiences from the brightest and best who might not ordinarily have seen a career in the fire and rescue service as being open or attractive to them,” said Direct Entry Project Executive Rob Barber.

“Being a Fire Officer is a tough job at times, but it is a hugely rewarding one. I am excited to see who puts themselves forward for this fantastic opportunity.

“The response from services wishing to be “early adopters” has been encouraging and I am confident we will be able to offer a compelling proposition to candidates from across the whole of the UK.”

Dawn Whittaker, Direct Entry Project Executive commented: “Many of the leadership skills required to run a modern FRS are not dissimilar to those required in other sectors, with people, financial, partnership and commercial skills at the fore.

“By diversifying those in our more senior roles we can invest in the future of our sector, and those already involved in the scheme are doing just that.”

Direct Entry is just one of a number of projects being delivered by NFCC’s Leadership Programme, underpinned by the FRS Core Code of Ethics, supporting FRS staff to move through their careers at a pace that suits them. This includes a Coaching and Mentoring Portal, Talent Management Framework, as well as a Supervisory Leadership Development Programme. Further products to be launched include a Middle Leadership Programme, due to launch in April 2024.

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