Thursday 20 July 2023
Today 42 new Wholetime (Full-Time) Firefighters graduated from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS). They will now begin their careers as Wholetime Firefighters in Fire Stations across Northern Ireland.
The graduation ceremony was held at the NIFRS Learning and Development Centre, Boucher Crescent, Belfast, and the graduates were joined by their family and friends for the special celebration.
During their intensive Trainee Firefighter Course, the new Firefighters have developed specialist knowledge and a wide range of practical skills, including tactical firefighting, using breathing apparatus, and responding to road traffic collisions and other rescues. They also learnt how to deliver fire prevention advice to the community.
Of the 42 Wholetime Firefighters graduating today 30 are new Firefighters and 12 are already experienced Firefighters- either On-Call or have transferred from other Fire & Rescue Services. The 30 new Firefighters completed 18 weeks of training, and the group of 12 already experienced Firefighters completed 8 weeks.
NIFRS Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Andy Hearn said:
“This is a hugely important day for our 42 trainees as they graduate as Wholetime Firefighters. Our graduates should be extremely proud of getting to this day. They performed exceptionally well in a demanding recruitment process, and then have gone on to successfully complete our intensive Trainee Firefighting Course.
“Thanks to their hard work and the commitment of our Instructors, they are ready to take their places as Wholetime Firefighters on Fire Stations across Northern Ireland.
“Today’s graduates have chosen to become a Firefighter because they believe in serving our community and working with others to make Northern Ireland a safer place. I wish them every success in what is a rewarding, interesting and meaningful career.”
Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health attended today’s graduation ceremony. He said:
“During their training, Firefighters are equipped with a unique and extensive set of skills and capabilities. I commend the work they do, often in dangerous and challenging situations.
“We have all seen their tremendous and tireless dedication to public safety. Last month I was pleased to meet and thank Firefighters who were involved in tackling wildfires in Counties Antrim and Tyrone.
“This latest intake of Firefighters will go a long way to ensuring our communities are protected with the vital service that NIFRS provides. I wish the new recruits all the very best for their future careers.”
Jay Colville, Chairperson of NIFRS added:
“On behalf of the NIFRS Board I would like to congratulate each of the new Firefighters graduating today. We want the best people to keep our community safe, and I am confident that today’s graduates are equipped and ready to go out and serve the people of Northern Ireland.
“Today’s graduation ceremony is an important milestone, but it isn’t the end of our Firefighters’ training and development. As a service, we continue to invest in our people and in the safety of everyone in Northern Ireland, and so our graduates will continue to train both on Station and in our new £ 42.6million Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, throughout their careers.
“I wish all of today’s 42 graduates success and happiness in their careers in NIFRS.”