FAQ

What is the minimum and maximum age to apply?

The minimum age is 18 but there is no maximum age limit.

What are the height and weight restrictions?

There are no height or weight restrictions; however, a healthy weight is important because being underweight or overweight can have an adverse effect on firefighting performance, safety and on general health.

What qualifications are needed to apply?

For general firefighter recruitment there are no specific qualifications required to apply, however, to be successful in the selection process you will need to pass the National Firefighter Selection Tests. These test your aptitude for the role, so having literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills equivalent to Level 2 Essential Skills or above will be required. 

Occasionally the Service will recruit for Firefighter roles that do require qualifications, examples can include higher apprenticeships or future leader programmes, in these cases the qualifications required will be noted on the recruitment advertising.

What experience is needed to apply?

No previous experience is needed as full training is provided.

How long does the recruitment and selection process take?

This can vary depending on the timing of vacancies and new recruit course dates. Applicants will need to complete the different stages of the recruitment process, which includes the National Firefighter Selection Tests and medical examination.

Please refer to the Applicant Information booklet specific to the recruitment campaign for the schedule of recruitment stages.

How long does the training take?

This can vary depending on individual ability and the timing of courses, however, the average length of time to become fully qualified as a competent Firefighter is 18 months.

What is the starting salary?

The starting salary for a trainee wholetime firefighter is currently £23,833 per annum. Once qualified, the salary for a competent firefighter is currently £31,767 per annum (rates correct as at  2020 Pay Award).

What are the hours?

Fulltime firefighters work an average 42 hours per week. Depending on their role and station posting they will work one of the following shift patterns:

  • Shift Duty System – 2 days (9am-6pm), 2 nights (6pm – 9am) followed by 4 periods of 24 hours off
  • Day Crewing System – 4 days on, working 12:00-22:00 and providing on-call cover for the remaining hours (22:00 to 12:00) within the days on duty, followed by 4 days off.
  • Rural Duty System – 4 days on (6am -6pm and the potential for on-call cover for the remaining hours within the 4 days if requested and appropriate) followed by 4 days off

Newly appointed firefighters will generally commence on either the Shift Duty System or Day Crewing System.  

Can I choose which Station to work at?

No.  Firefighters are placed at Stations where there are vacancies. Firefighters may also be required to transfer and work at other stations if needed.

Whilst applicants can state a preference of duty system or location, we must take into account where we need to fill vacancies and review skills of all new employees and try to place them at a station and watch that will help develop them further.

Do I have to live in North Wales?

No, however, as a firefighter you agree to serve at any station within North Wales. If you are required to work at one of our day crewed stations, there will be a requirement to provide a base location within a suitable response area of the fire station.

Do I have to be a British Citizen to apply?

You can be of any nationality to apply, provided that you have the permanent right to remain without restriction in the UK.  You will be required to supply evidence of your right to work in the UK during the recruitment process.

Are the recruitment standards different for men compared to women?

No. The assessments and standards that need to be met are the same for everyone.

Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a Firefighter. You are required to declare any convictions for offences that are not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This includes any offences dealt with by a court of law, HM Services disciplinary procedures and any driving offences. To find out if a conviction is unspent visit www.disclosurecalculator.org.uk

Before an offer of employment is made a disclosure document from the Criminal Records Bureau will be obtained. If, at any stage, a conviction is highlighted that you have not declared, your application will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.

How fit will I have to be?

You will need to be reasonably fit and maintain your fitness levels throughout your career as a Firefighter. You will be required to undertake a fitness evaluation to determine your aerobic capacity is at least a VO2 max level of 42. You are also required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.  Please see fitness section for more information

I have a disability; can I still apply?

Yes; medical suitability is determined by an individual assessment which will involve due consideration of any opinions or medical reports you may wish to submit.

We are fully committed to meeting our duties to matters of equality as set out in current legislation, specifically The Equality Act 2010. 

Fire and Rescue Services cannot make any adjustments to the essential role requirements, as identified in the Person Specification section of the Job Description or to nationally set Fitness Standards.  These requirements and standards have been set to ensure that individuals are safe at work, for their own protection and that of others.   

If you have a disability and feel that you are able to meet the essential role requirements as detailed in the Job Description and Person Specification, but the selection / assessment process prevents you from fully demonstrating your abilities, reasonable adjustments to the process will be considered.  To ensure that the required support is readily available, you are required to bring your specific needs to the attention of the appropriate testing centre in advance.

A medical condition or functional limitation which, despite any reasonable adjustments, gives rise to significantly increased occupational risk of the following is unacceptable:

  • Sudden collapse or sudden incapacitation
  • Impaired judgement or altered awareness
  • Substantial physical or psychological injury/ill health
  • Any other effect which would pose a substantial health and safety risk to yourself or others

Can I apply if I wear glasses?

You will be required to have an Eyesight Standards form completed by a qualified optometrist.  The main eyesight requirements are:

  • A minimum visual acuity of, right eye 6.9, left eye 6.9
  • Good colour vision (you will be required to complete colour vision assessments if you have a colour vision impairment)
  • If Laser eye surgery has been performed, applications will not be considered for a minimum of 12 months after the date of the procedure

I am dyslexic; can I receive support?

Dyslexia is classed as a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process. When you get to the timed written tests you will be asked if you suffer with dyslexia and you should answer "yes". You will then be asked to contact us directly so as we can discuss any reasonable adjustments, such as additional time to undertake the assessments. You will be required to provide evidence of your dyslexia.

I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off to be a Firefighter?

As a firefighter you will need to wear respiratory protection equipment, including a face mask when you’re wearing breathing apparatus. Operational firefighters must be clean shaven as facial hair can stop the mask from forming a seal around the face, which could let dangerous airborne chemicals in. Whilst we respect religious needs, for health and safety reasons facial hair below the top lip is not permitted whilst on duty.

I’ve got several tattoos; will this be an issue?

Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.

I’ve got several piercings; will this be an issue?

For health and safety reasons, all piercings must be removed before commencing operational duty.

My faith requires me to allocate certain times of the day for prayer; will this be accommodated?

Due to the nature of the role, there may be times when this is not possible. However, we actively support employees who wish to pray at work to balance their individual beliefs with operational needs. Fasting Firefighters always ensure that both their colleagues and they remain safe by actively managing their energy and hydration levels where necessary.

If my faith requires me to fast, can I still be a firefighter?

Yes, you can still fast, but it is important that all members of the Service are able to perform their core role whilst on duty. It is important to recognise that dehydration can affect a person very quickly. An individual may believe they are perfectly fine but very quickly succumb to the adverse effects of dehydration. We encourage staff who choose to fast to discuss it with their line manager. Employees have a responsibility for being fit for duty and, where fasting has affected a member of staff adversely, they must tell their manager immediately.

As a practising Sikh, can I still be a firefighter and wear a turban?

A new clause of the Deregulation Bill 2015 extends the existing exemption for Sikhs to have to wear a safety helmet under the Employment Act in all workplaces. However there are exclusions for emergency response services and the military, which apply only in hazardous operational situations when the wearing of a safety helmet is considered necessary, for example, when entering a burning building where protective clothing needs to be worn to enclose the whole body.

Do I have to be able to speak Welsh?

At North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, we believe that in the conduct of public business in Wales, the English and Welsh languages should be treated on the basis of equality. Saving lives and reducing risk are at the heart of our mission - the language issue is vital to its success.

We have a statutory duty to comply with a set of national Welsh Language Standards standards issued by the Welsh Language Commissioner. As part of our commitment to the Welsh Language, all new members of staff are required to have the ability to show basic Welsh language courtesy skills to at least Level 2.  All new firefighters are required to achieve the Level 2 standard before the end of their probation period.

The Level 2 assessment involves a short verbal test with an assessor – further help and support is available on the Welsh language pages of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website, as well as further help and support which is available from our Welsh Language Champions. We are committed to supporting individuals as far as we can to attain the required level. External candidates will be provided appropriate support to develop their Welsh language skills.

Further information about the Welsh language requirements can be found on our website

Do you accept transfers from other fire and rescue services?

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service maintains a transfer list for current wholetime firefighters who wish to transfer to North Wales from other UK Fire and Rescue Services. Unless advised otherwise during an advertised campaign, applicants that wish to be considered for wholetime positions will need to register through the application process to be considered for a wholetime position as part of a recruitment campaign.

If you want to be added to our transfer list for future reference please email hrdesk@nwales-fireservice.org.uk with the following information:

  • Full name (including title)
  • Full address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Transferring from which Fire and Rescue Service
  • Current role
  • Preferred location / station

When will the next WDS/wholetime firefighter recruitment be?

There are no set dates of when recruitment processes for wholetime firefighters will be undertaken. All current vacancies, for operational firefighters, including wholetime and apprentices, as well as support staff will be advertised on the Current Vacancies page on our website and our social media pages as a minimum.

Will I be put on a holding list and if so, how long is this valid for?

Only applicants who were successful at all stages of the recruitment and selection process will have their details placed on a holding list.  Offers of employment may be made from the holding list as vacancies arise within a specified period, however there is no guarantee of employment. .   

Will I be able to know what my pass mark was?

The Service is not in a position to disclose individual pass marks for this recruitment campaign, however, the online application feedback document (which is emailed separately) does advise of the percentile you achieved.   This will be one of the following groups; well below average, below average, average, above average, well above average. 

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