Police Force – Competition to join on of the 43 forces in England and Wales is very competitive, due to the excellent career opportunities (ranking from Police Constable, Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent all the way to Chief Constable). Other benefits include good pay an excellent pension, flexible working, paid overtime and paid sick leave, also eligibility for the key workers scheme.

The process for joining the police force is rigorous and involves structured interviews and role plays that test areas such as problem solving, team work, communication skills, race and diversity, personal responsibility, and resilience. In addition there are medical, eye and fitness tests to pass. 

There are no formal education requirements, nor any height restrictions, however you must have lived in the UK for the 3 years prior to your application and be 18 years old or over.

Special Constable’s – volunteer their time and work alongside the regular police force officers to help police their local community. They receive an intensive training process to allow them to perform a minimum of 4 hours service a week. ‘Specials’ as they are commonly known have the same powers as regular police officers and have the benefit that it provides an invaluable insight into the work of the police and so allows you to experience whether a career with the police is one that would suit you.

Fire Brigade – Fire fighters can expect a varied workload of not just burning buildings but also road traffic accidents, hazardous spillages, floods and fire prevention.  The qualities that a fire fighter must have include physical fitness, confidence, problem solving, resilience, effective communication, diversity, integrity and most importantly situation awareness – this is the ability to interpret situations and scenarios carefully and be able to handle them safely.

The process for joining the fire service includes physical and medical tests. The physical tests include ladder climbing, assembling and carrying fire equipment, mock casualty evacuations, shuttle run/bleep fitness test, and the ability to work in enclosed spaces. The medical tests are extensive and include physical stamina, lung function, hearing, eye sight and possible chest X rays.

Retained firefighter – These firefighters usually serve rural areas and suit persons who live or work within 5 minutes of a fire station so that they are able to respond to emergencies when they are paged. A retained firefighter will typically be ‘on call’ for up to approximately 120 hours per week. It is perfectly possible to have this job on top of another one provided you are able to leave for emergencies when needed. The remuneration varies but tends to be made up of an element for the time that you are on call for, plus additional payments for call outs and duties performed.

Ambulance service  –Emergency ambulance crews normally include an emergency care assistant and a paramedic, who are highly trained to deal with a range of emergencies including heart attacks, strokes and car accident crush and spinal injuries. Their job is to provide emergency treatment to ambulance  patient to help stabilise them at home or at the scene of an accident prior to any transportation to hospital. This is a very demanding job and requires lifesaving decisions to be made at times.  A driver of an ambulance or paramedic motor cycle will receive advanced driving lessons as part of their training. Other opportunities even exist as part of a helicopter ambulance aircrew.  To train as a paramedic then you have the option of either a full time university course or via a working student paramedic job.

Coast guard – The coast guard help to safe guard the coast line and also includes such tasks search and rescue to investigating pollution spillages. Job opportunities with the coast guard include watch assistants and watch officers which are employed by the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency who employ over 1200 people and are supported by over 3500 volunteers.  The qualities required to work as a coast guard are knowledge and experience of maritime and the sea, the ability to work under pressure in emergency situations and have good team working skills.