Students at the University of Wolverhampton have been given a taste of life as a firefighter as part of an innovative partnership with West Midlands Fire Service.
The BSc (Hons) Fire and Rescue students have spent four weeks at the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) Academy in Smethwick completing the same training as newly recruited firefighters.
The 28 first and second year students have been learning to use ladders, pumps and hoses as part of their degree course, which combines academic theory with practical experience.
They ‘passed out’ from the course at a ceremony at the WMFS Academy, which was attended by University staff and senior fire officers. The students were also presented with individual certificates to mark their achievements so far.
Mark Taylor is the Course Leader and spent 30 years working for West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS). He said: “This is the first time a vocational training course of this type has been run in the UK. The University and the WMFS have worked together on this degree since its creation more than three years ago.
“These students will not only achieve a good academic qualification but will also have proved that they are valuable members of the community through their volunteering work and have been trained in the basic skills of a fire fighter.”
Tony Prosser, Director of Learning and Development at WMFS said: “When graduates from this course apply to become firefighters in future, they will already be equipped with some of the essential knowledge and skills required of a modern-day fire fighter.”
Students can also become community volunteers and retained firefighters with some fire and rescue services around the region during their three years of study, as well as undertaking this initial firefighter training with WMFS.
West Midlands, Staffordshire, Hereford and Worcestershire, Shropshire and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue services contribute to the curriculum design and content, and the programme includes a ‘guest lecture’ series during which students engage in discussion and debate with leading fire and rescue experts on current practice and policy.
The BSc (Hons) Fire and Rescue degree offers a relevant professional programme of study for students intending to seek a career in the fire and rescue services or industrial and aviation sector. The degree contains a number of engineering and science modules including mathematics, chemistry and physics.
The Academy is a purpose built and equipped training complex and is the hub of training learning and development for the West Midlands Fire Service.
The building features numerous well equipped training rooms, a conference hall, and practical training areas including a safe firehouse alongside breathing apparatus and foam training pads, a road traffic collision (RTC) pad and a trauma care suite. There are also a number of elevated structures to enable safe working at height training, and a confined space facility. WMFS also has access to a number of sites across the the West Midlands region suitable for water and boat safety training.
Coupled with one of the most technologically advanced Command and Control systems available, the Academy at WMFS offers first class faciliities for both serving firefighters and students with the potential for a career in firefighting ahead of them.
Picture: BSc (Hons) Fire and Rescue students at the passing out ceremony at the West Midlands Fire Service Academy.
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