Training & Development

Once you’ve been offered a post as an on-call firefighter, you will be given a contract of employment and invited to join a programme to begin your training.

Firefighter training is carried out over a number of phases to begin with, and then continues throughout your career as a firefighter. Initial training courses consist of three different phases and apply to both wholetime and on-call firefighters.



Initially, all firefighters undergo training to learn the basic core skills and specific areas of knowledge required to perform safely as an operational firefighter.

The learning will cover the following required areas:

  • Pumps and ladders
  • Knots and lines
  • Breathing apparatus
  • Road traffic collisions and trauma
  • Technical rescue – Lines (ropes) and water safety
  • Hazardous materials

You will complete your training as part of a team, and it’s essential that you maintain a high level of fitness prior to and during this phase of learning.

There are two options for on-call firefighters to complete the initial phase of training

  • 15 week (non-residential) training course held at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters in Birkenshaw, Bradford
  • Modular – working with colleagues on station with regular assessments of the required basic core skills, including some practical’s at headquarters for example, a three week Breathing Apparatus course.
  • Depending on an individual’s commitment to their training, the modular option can take between 10 – 12 months and is expected to be completed in no more than 18 months.

On completion of the core skills training, trainee firefighters may be able to ride in an appliance to incidents with colleagues from their station.


This second phase of training is carried whilst working as an operational on-call firefighter.

During this period of time you will complete a Level 3 NVQ in Fire Service Operations in the Community as well as undergoing continuous assessment. Depending on an individual’s commitment to their development, this phase normally lasts 18 months and is expected to be completed in no more than 24 months.


Once the NVQ and continuous assessments have been completed successfully, individuals are deemed competent firefighters.

However, training does not stop there, as you are required to maintain your competencies (and fitness) as an operational firefighter throughout your career.


A team of trained and dedicated colleagues will be on hand to offer you support throughout all stages of training and your career. In addition, individuals who are trained instructors on fire stations will also provide guidance and support where necessary.