New recruits say Staffordshire role is “golden ticket”

Two of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue’s newest recruits have said how they’re thrilled to be given the “golden ticket” of firefighting – with a full time role.

Full time firefighting is seen as the golden ticket so I’ll continue to work hard as I’ve been incredibly fortunate.

Rob Kearney, Leek Blue Watch

Rob Kearney and Nathan McGowan – both 34 – have joined Leek Blue Watch having been inducted as one of 20 full time recruits who joined the organisation last month. 

Rob previously worked for the Defence Fire and Rescue Service, run by the Ministry of Defence, and has nine years on-call experience with Shropshire Fire and Rescue. Nathan worked as a mobile phone technician alongside his on-call role with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue – a role he was in for seven and a half years.

Rob said; “During my time at the Ministry of Defence, I mainly dealt with aircraft crashes and fires and managed to reach the position of Crew Manager after a period of time. However, despite enjoying the job I felt like I wanted another challenge. I wanted something that would give me the opportunity to help more people as, thankfully, aircraft crashes aren’t regular occurrences.

“When I saw, that there were positions at Staffs I applied straight away. It gives me the opportunity to build on my operational experience and focus on work around prevention and protection. It also gives me the opportunity to get out into the community again – something I missed whilst at Cosford. The additional training available is also great. I can really develop here and help people who live across the county.

“Full time firefighting is seen as the golden ticket so I’ll continue to work hard as I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity. I’m now focussed on getting out into the community and developing operationally. I’m really excited to get going at Blue Watch in Leek.”

Nathan said; “This was actually my third time applying as a whole time firefighter, having been on-call for a number of years. Fortunately, it was third time lucky and I’m now incredibly excited about getting out and serving the people of this beautiful county. The community work is second to none in the job like this and I can’t wait to get to grips with it all.”

“One thing I do want to say is how brilliant the other guys on Blue Watch have been since we arrived at Leek. They’ve been incredibly accommodating and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be here.

“Having already been on-call for seven years I thought I knew quite a lot but coming to Leek I realised there was still a lot to learn but the watch are definitely showing how supportive they are and how much help they can be.

“Having Rob with me has also helped massively. Having someone go through the exact same experience as me at the same time has been really beneficial and a great support – as we’ve been able to bounce off each other and I’ve learnt so much already.

“The thing that’s stood out is how useful it’s been for us both to be able to reflect on the day with each other and discuss our experiences together. I can’t tell you how helpful that is – especially with us in a similar position both in and out of work.”

Rob said: “I couldn’t agree more with that. Everyone, from the Station and Crew Managers to the other guys on Blue Watch have really opened their arms to us and have made us feel incredibly welcome. They’ve been with us every step of the way – from getting the right kit to helping us answer any queries we might have. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

“Personally, I’ve found it’s great having Nathan by my side throughout this as well. He’s already got a knowledge of Staffordshire and how the organisation works and through our training he was able to help me around Headquarters and other areas – as it was completely new to me.

Something as simple as where to go for a break or getting to grips with the IT – he’s been really helpful.

“It’s hugely beneficial. It’s such a great organisation to be a part of and it’s completely exceeded my expectations.”

On what his hopes are for his career at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Rob said: “I’m going to give my all for the people of Staffordshire and look to learn as much as I can. I eventually want to give something back and move into the training side of things but I’m now 100% focussed on achieving the high standards that I set myself so I can be the best I can be for the organisation and the country I serve to protect.

Nathan said; “I feel really fortunate to be able to have a career here and it’s rewarding to have a job that I truly enjoy. Having that career, settling in and hopefully be able to contribute to Leek Blue Watch is what I want to do – having a long, successful career in serving the local community.”