Understanding young people's perceptions of firefighting

The Union believes it is not as easy to attract competent Firefighters as:

  • It once was
  • As many believe

As well the Unions understanding that there is now a significant resignation rate in the first 5 years of employment (around 20%).

This is of concern to all of us – at the least it directly impacts on the ability to maintain MSM.

Consequently the Union is pleased to see that FENZ is commencing research and there is now recognition of a difficulty in recruitment.

Attached is a statement from FENZ that provides further details of the research.

The Union is involved in monitoring this project and will have full access to the final report.

Understanding young people’s perceptions of firefighting

The fire and emergency service has changed dramatically in relation to the types of incidents attended, the equipment and the skills needed. In New Zealand, firefighters attend more medical co-response and motor vehicle accident calls than structure fires. Fire and emergency services are increasingly involved in community engagement activities as part of our work in risk reduction and community resilience. However, it is not clear if the public and particularly potential recruits understand the contemporary role of firefighting and the skills and capabilities needed to be successful. To address this Fire and Emergency NZ has commissioned research to explore young people’s perceptions of the firefighter role, their understanding of the skills needed and the sources of information contribute to these perceptions. The research project will help us to understand the perceived barriers which discourage diversity in the potential recruitment pool and explore how we can encourage people to consider firefighting/emergency response as a career or volunteering role. Young people will be participating in focus groups in April and the research will be completed in July. For further information please contact the project sponsor Angela Geerts, Service Resilience and Development Manager, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (angela.geerts@fireandemergency.nz).

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