Deputy Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Paul Harper meeting new Firefighter Graduates.
Thirty-seven new wholetime (full-time) firefighters have graduated from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS).
They will now begin their careers in fire stations across Northern Ireland.
The ceremony, held at NIFRS Learning and Development Centre Boucher, on International Firefighter’s Day (4 May), was the first graduation ceremony since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that the graduates’ family and loved ones were able to attend in person.
The graduates completed a rigorous training programme that allowed them to develop specialist knowledge and a wide range of practical skills, including tactical firefighting; breathing apparatus; road traffic collision and other rescue skills; as well as learning about fire prevention and community safety training.
NIFRS Deputy Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Paul Harper said: “This is a momentous day for our 37 new wholetime firefighters.
"Our graduates should be proud of their journey to this point. They were exceptional throughout an extremely challenging recruitment process, and have now successfully completed the intensive Trainee Firefighting Course.
"Thanks to their hard work and the dedication of our instructors, they are ready to start the next chapter of their career in NIFRS. I look forward to them taking their place as professional firefighters on fire stations across Northern Ireland.
"Today is also International Firefighters Day. This is a day we take every year to remember Firefighters who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their community. This makes today particularly poignant and the memorial is an integral part of our graduation ceremony.
“Just as those who have come before them, today’s graduates have chosen this career because they want to make a difference, and believe that in serving our community and working with others contributes to making Northern Ireland a safer place. This is the foundation upon which our service is built. I wish today’s graduates every success in what is a fulfilling and rewarding career.”
Carmel McKinney, OBE, Chairperson of NIFRS added: “On behalf of the NIFRS Board I would like to warmly congratulate each of our new Firefighters graduating today, and I wish them a long, happy and rewarding career.
“The training and development of our people is not something that ends with today’s graduation ceremony. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and today’s graduates will continue their training and development on Station and in our new £42.6million Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, throughout their careers. We continue to invest in our people and in the safety of everyone in Northern Ireland.
“With hard work and commitment there are fantastic opportunities for career progression within our organisation. I look forward to seeing the success of today’s 37 graduates over the coming years.”