Information on the fire service, including recruitment, safety advice and how to apply for the different courses we run.

Become a wholetime community firefighter

What's involved in becoming a wholetime community firefighter.

Last updated:
17 June 2019

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1 Application timetable

The selection process to become a wholetime community firefighter is lengthy and highly competitive. It is designed to assess your fitness, physical and mental strengths, personal qualities and resilience against the skills and qualities we are seeking in the role.

If you reach and pass the final stage of the selection process, subject to relevant vacancies, you may then be offered the opportunity of starting formal training to become a wholetime community firefighter.

The application process to become a wholetime community firefighter is currently closed.

2 Eligibility

Following an online registration with us, you will be asked some basic questions to assess your eligibility to apply. As part of the assessment, you must:

  • be 17 years and six months of age (it is a requirement to be aged 18 years or over on commencement of training, so applications will be taken as long as applicants are 18 years old once they start training)
  • live in West Sussex, East Sussex or Surrey at the time of application
  • be eligible to work in the UK
  • have a minimum of 5 GCSEs A*-C grade or equivalent Level 2 qualifications, which must include English and Mathematics or be a competent retained firefighter currently employed by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

You will be then be advised whether you are eligible to continue your application.

If successful, you will receive an email informing you of how and when you can access the online assessments. Please check your inbox and junk mail for emails from Apollo Online Assessment.

It is also desirable that applicants hold a full, valid UK driving licence unless there is a valid reason that you are unable to drive.

Proof of all eligibility requirements will be required at interview stage.

3 What is it like being a wholetime community firefighter?

The wholetime community firefighter responds to many emergency situations, including fires, road traffic collisions, chemical accidents, flooding and other natural disasters. Now, however, there is a much greater emphasis on working within the community to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place, and reducing their impact when they do.  

Firefighters spend time out in the community raising awareness of fire prevention and road safety, carrying out home safety visits and engaging with a diverse range of audiences, including older residents, local businesses, community groups and young people.

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