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Newest career firefighters on the up
As career firefighter Steven Venville celebrates his graduation and prepares to head up to Mildura for his first day on the job, it will be the end of one big learning curve, but the start of another.
Today’s graduation event, held at the Victorian Emergency Management Training College (VEMTC) Craigieburn, will mark the end of 19 weeks of training for Steven and 29 other graduates.
After a formal ceremony that includes a hot fire demonstration for family and friends, many will turn straight to packing and moving in preparation for arrival at their newly appointed brigades in only four to seven days’ time.
All were brought in under a state government commitment to add 350 additional career firefighters to CFA's workforce.
As a former industry-based emergency services officer/medic and CFA Warragul volunteer member, Steven’s expectations of the job are grounded in life experience. “I love challenges and felt I wanted the challenges and rewards of a community-based emergency service,” he said.
While some might find the idea of relocation daunting, Steven reckons meeting new people and seeing new sights will be exciting. He’s heard good things about the community and the CFA family in Mildura and is keen to see firsthand the results of all the hard work and training.
The change in scenery may well offer opportunities beyond just work. “I keep pretty busy with a young family but when I can I enjoy flying light aircraft and travelling around. There’ll be many new sights to see in Mildura,” Steven said.
It’s unsurprising to say the least that the group of 30 recruits has formed tight bonds over the course of the 19-week program, given the intensity and emphasis on team work.
Recruit training coordinator Chris Bigham said this reflects the reality of the job.
“While the recruits do progress as individuals, their success is dependent on their interaction within the team to combat the array of response scenarios,” he said.
Jason Greaves, another former CFA volunteer who will start work at Ballarat City next week, said the camaraderie between teammates was part of what attracted him to the career.
The former information technology worker said he wanted to “work in a job that is outdoors and with my hands.” And in a program which places a range of theoretical, practical, physical and behavioural demands on the recruits, the range of working backgrounds is a benefit.
“People really do come in from all walks of life, and that’s a good thing because if you don’t have a strength in one area then someone will help you out,” said Jason.
Amanda Bailey also comes from a largely office-based background, having worked in legal admin before starting on the recruit course. Instructors say both Amanda and Jason, despite their lack of
tactile on-the-job experience, have gone from strength-to-strength with their training.
“I wanted a career that was active and challenging while still doing something good and worthwhile,” said Amanda, who will continue her CFA career with the Eltham Fire Brigade.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the area and the people,” she said.
About Recruit Course 4 / 2015:
- Past professions include a corporate finance officer, chocolatier, winemaker and viticulturist, computer programmer, ER nurse and rescue helicopter air crewman, tow truck driver, carpenter and electrician.
- A former London Fire Brigade firefighter and two former DELWP project/summer firefighters.
- 11 members with a CFA volunteer background.
- Three members with parents who were firefighters, including Paul Purcell (stationed at Wodonga) who says his dad “brought up my siblings and I with a strong sense of community and a desire to help people” and Joel Tipping (Rosebud) who says he’s wanted to “follow in his father’s footsteps” from a young age.
Considering firefighting as a career?
Recruitment for 2017 career firefighter positions will begin in March 2016 with information sessions to be scheduled from February.
Visit cfa.vic.gov.au/career or ‘like’ the CFA Members Facebook page for more information.