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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

34 new wholetime firefighters graduate from NIFRS

(L-R)-Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Andy Hearn, Top Trainee Kirsty McKevitt, Top Trainee Runner-Up Andrew Bailie, NIFRS Board Member Cllr Robert Irvine.

Thirty-four new Wholetime (Full-Time) Firefighters graduated from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) on Friday 10 February 2023.

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 Road, Belfast, and the graduates were joined by their family and loved ones for the special celebration.

The graduates completed an intensive training programme that allowed them to develop 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 and community safety training.

NIFRS Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Andy Hearn said:


“This is a hugely important day for our 34 trainees as they graduate as Wholetime Firefighters. Our graduates should be extremely proud of getting to this day. They were exceptional in a challenging recruitment process, and then have successfully completed our rigorous Trainee Firefighting Course.

“Thanks to their hard work and the dedication of our Instructors, they are ready to start the next chapter of their career in NIFRS and will now 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 fulfilling, interesting and worthwhile career.”

Carmel McKinney, OBE, Chairperson of NIFRS added:


“On behalf of the NIFRS Board I would like to warmly congratulate each of our 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 onto Station to serve the people of Northern Ireland.

“The training and development of our people is not something that ends with today’s Graduation Ceremony. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and today’s graduates will continue their training and development on Station and in our new £42.6million Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, throughout their careers.  As a service, we continue to invest in our people and in the safety of everyone in Northern Ireland.

“I wish all of today’s 34 graduates success and happiness in their careers in NIFRS.”

Of the 34 new Wholetime Firefighters graduating, 28 are new Firefighters and 6 are already experienced On-Call Firefighters. The 28 new Firefighters completed 18 weeks of training, and the 6 On-Call to Wholetime group completed 8 weeks.


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