21 November 2013 by Graham Ellicott,

I recently spent half a day at a school’s careers fair, flying the flag, for the fire sector. When I say sector, I mean the whole lot, not just the bit with alarms and extinguishers! So that’s the people involved with all aspects of the shiny big red engines, the engineers that design fire systems for commercial systems, the guys and girls that climb scaffold to install and maintain fire protection systems and those that manage existing buildings and who make sure that all associated with them are kept safe from fire.

Along with about 30 other table top displays I fielded questions from Year 11s that is those young people that are going to be taking GCSEs in the early summer of 2014. At least 90% of the people I spoke to were male and it’s disappointing to see that fire hasn’t yet managed to interest the female student to a noticeable extent! I have to say that the Fire and Rescue Services have made great efforts to attract female firefighters and the commercial fire sector has yet to match their determination in this area. Here I believe that we need greater effort as to have a large portion of the UK’s population showing little interest in the fire sector must mean that lot of talented people are being missed, indeed when my generation retire (won’t be long now for me ...) who’s going to fill the gap?

Picture of school's careers fair

The fire sector has lot to offer but there’s a lot of competition out there and surely now more than ever the best people are needed to take the sector forward. First hand evidence of the competition was on display at the career fair in the form of long queues  for the accountancy and legal table tops. Now at the risk of upsetting the bean counters and legal beagles why on earth would you want to work in those sectors when you could be saving life, property and people’s jobs by working in ‘fire’?

The longest queue however at the fair was for a multinational conglomerate that is in a multitude of sectors but my guess is that the main reason for this wasn’t the career opportunities on offer but rather the free offering of goodies from one of their well known brands, can you guess who?  Mars…

So perhaps that’s the answer to the fire recruitment conundrum edible fire fighting foams!