The Trainee Firefighter School is a paid, intensive training program of 17 weeks’ duration undertaken at DFES’ Fire and Emergency Services Academy in Forrestfield. It is only offered to the most competitive and suitable candidates resulting from the Trainee Firefighter Recruitment process. There is no ability to pay DFES to gain entry into the school to receive the same qualification.
The School is extremely intensive and trainees will find it extremely difficult, both physically and mentally. It is vital that trainees have support from their friends and family during this time as they will likely be very stressed, undertaking a large amount of study at home. Advice to families and friends – cut them a bit of slack, help them out by reducing the amount of household duties they might normally do. They can pay you back once they graduate.
Usually, from a school of 24, 1-2 trainees do not complete the entire 17 weeks. This is usually because they either realise that the role contains a lot of tasks they were not aware of; they are unable to keep up with the pace of the school; or they get injured outside the school. If someone misses even one day during the school, it can be incredibly difficult to catch up.
During the school, it is highly recommended that trainees cease all other commitments, including sport. Any injury caused from external activities resulting in the trainee being unable to undertake the full activities of the school may lead to them being removed from the school. Opportunities to be deferred to future schools is not an option in this instance.
At the conclusion of the school, subject to successful completion of all units, DFES may offer a position to a station anywhere in the State. The initial posting is most commonly a relief position where the firefighter works at different stations to relieve those on leave or other absences. This is still full time. There may be instances where even though someone completes the school, DFES determines that due to operational requirements, no further employment can be offered.