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The emergency services is a category which includes the ambulance service, fire & rescue service, police force and emergency planning. The emergency services offer an extremely wide range of career options – both for school leavers and university graduates. Increasingly, emergency services agencies have been recruiting university graduates (for instance, paramedics).
All emergency services focus on keeping the public safe and reacting to emergency situations. Roles can be both physically and emotionally demanding, but also can be extremely rewarding – emergency services have counselling and chaplaincy services available to their staff to help them deal with the aftermath of difficult situations. While most emergency services positions are involved in the frontline delivery of those services, there are also more office-based positions (for example emergency medical dispatchers / emergency planning). Most emergency services positions require shift work, so hours can be quite variable.
Emergency planning is the least well-known of the four emergency services areas, it revolves around developing procedures to plan for threats such as terrorist incidents, industrial accidents and severe weather. There is also an element of training and guidance for businesses and other organisations.
Most positions in the emergency services are recruited for on a local basis – for instance, paramedics are recruited by their local ambulance service NHS Trust (e.g. London Ambulance Service NHS Trust / East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust) – the best approach is to check your local ambulance service NHS Trust’s website for details of how to apply.
The police force has both general recruitment schemes for the 43 local forces (https://www.police.uk/forces/) and also a graduate-specific programme (Police Now).
If you are looking to apply for a role in the fire & rescue service, you should check your local fire & rescue service’s website for details on how to apply. You can find your local service by checking the National Fire Chief’s Council listing.