It was a historic day for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) last Friday (February 2) as it celebrated its final graduation ceremony at its Learning & Development Centre, before officially opening the final phase of its new cutting-edge training facility in Cookstown.
NIFRS Learning & Development College (LDC) at Cookstown is a Northern Ireland Executive flagship project that represents the largest capital build ever undertaken by the service. The facilities will revolutionise how NIFRS trains and develops its people.
Wholetime (Full-Time) Firefighters Paul Murphy and Hannah Tucker from Co. Armagh graduated from NIFRS and will continue their training at the college when it opens later this year.
A total of 36 Wholetime Firefighters from across Northern Ireland have graduated and will now begin their careers in Fire Stations after completing an intensive training programme.
The training equipped them to develop specialist knowledge and acquire a wide range of practical skills, including tactical firefighting, using breathing apparatus, and responding to road traffic collisions and other rescues. Additionally they learnt how to deliver fire prevention advice to the community.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Aidan Jennings said: “This is a hugely momentous day for our 36 trainees as they graduate as Wholetime Firefighters and for NIFRS hosting its final graduation ceremony at its Learning & Development Centre, Boucher.
“We are extremely proud to lead the development of our new Learning & Development College at Cookstown. The College will revolutionise how NIFRS trains and develops its people. The delivery of more realistic and repeatable operational rescue scenarios to assist our Firefighter’s will enhance the safety of our people throughout Northern Ireland and enhance the safety of our community.
“Our graduates are enthused to be part of this journey with us as they start the next chapter of their careers as Wholetime Firefighters.
“They performed exceptionally well in a challenging recruitment process and in completing our demanding Trainee Firefighting Course. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, and to the commitment of our Training team, they will now begin serving our community. I wish them every success in what is a fulfilling, rewarding and meaningful career.”
Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, added: “I congratulate the 36 new trainee Wholetime Firefighters as they graduate today, and I wish them a successful and extensive career in NIFRS. The new training facility in Cookstown will transform how training is delivered for our future Firefighters with its state-of-the-art equipment and facilities it has to offer the new recruits.”
Jay Colville, Chairperson of NIFRS stated: “On behalf of the NIFRS Board, I would like to congratulate each of the new Wholetime Firefighters graduating today. It is an honour to witness so many passionate Firefighters who are devoted to keeping our community safe.
“Today’s graduation ceremony is an important milestone and as a service we continue to invest in our people. Our graduates will continue their training and development throughout their careers, both on Station and in our new Learning & Development College at Cookstown. The training hub is a testament to our unwavering commitment to ensure the safety of our community, lifelong learning and delivering an effective Fire & Rescue Service.
“I wish all of today’s 36 graduates success and happiness in their careers in NIFRS.”