Hot off the heels of being ranked 21st in the top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for 2023, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA)has more cause for celebration after an OFSTED inspection carried out between 11th and 14th July this year found some outstanding practice.
MFRA began offering apprenticeships in September 2019 and at the time of the report had apprentices working in 23 fire stations across Merseyside, with 72 apprentices studying the level 3 operational firefighter standard and 7 studying the level 3 emergency call handler apprenticeship standard.
The Official Inspection Report from OFSTED, released this week, found a strong culture of equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation, with apprentices participating with passion and enthusiasm in training sessions. Apprentices consistently demonstrated the Service values of serving with courage, integrity and compassion. As part of the ‘Apprenticeship Challenge’ they carried out activities such as visiting schools to raise fire safety awareness, training as Fire Cadet instructors and hosting resident’s days to give home fire safety advice to the most vulnerable residents in the community, with apprentices feeding back that the apprenticeship is rewarding and different every day.
Inspectors found that an ambitious curriculum has been developed for apprentices, with additional training in ship firefighting and marine rescue on the River Mersey going beyond the requirements of the apprenticeship. Apprentices also learn about the importance of call handling skills when providing fire survival guidance which would be crucial to saving life in an emergency situation – apprentices demonstrated how they could skilfully and competently use their newly acquired range of skills in a range of situations.
In the judgement of inspectors, behaviour and attitudes and personal development were ‘Outstanding’.