Residents encouraged to become fire station managers across Oxfordshire

Residents considering a career in fire and rescue have a new route into the service, following the launch of a direct entry scheme by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service.  

The recruitment team is looking for individuals with proven leadership skills from a variety of sectors. Successful candidates would become fire station managers after completing a three-year training programme.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service believes this new recruitment process – which will sit alongside more traditional promotional routes within the service – will encourage applications from currently underrepresented groups.

It will open the door to people who have acquired leadership skills in many different backgrounds and sectors, with the fire stations benefitting from this expertise and wide-ranging experience. Successful candidates will not need to have previously worked as firefighters or have a background in fire and rescue.

Rob MacDougall, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “Those recruited to these exciting roles will be expected to acquire and demonstrate skills and expertise in management, including leading and directing at major incidents. We will support them all the way in their development.

“Our main aim is to provide a different route of entry into the role of fire station manager, alongside the more traditional internal promotional path. It is a great way to diversify senior management, adding to the incredible skill base we already have among our existing leaders.

“I hope the scheme will draw new perspectives and experiences from the brightest and best of Oxfordshire and beyond, who might not ordinarily have considered a career in fire and rescue being open or attractive to them.

“Being an Oxfordshire fire and rescue officer is hugely rewarding. I am excited to see who puts themselves forward for these fantastic opportunities.”

For further information about Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’ direct entry scheme, including how to apply, please see the direct entry advert.

Alternatively, to discuss the role further, please email marcus.reay@oxfordshire.gov.uk or phone 07788 183050.

First person feature

Expect the unexpected …  a day in the life of an Oxfordshire fire station manager



Faisal Atcha  (pictured below)

Kidlington Fire Station Manager

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service

“I am calling it the ‘big T’. The emphasis on team, teamwork, and camaraderie. That is what a career in Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is all about.

“The fire station manager is a crucial part of this. They lead, support and coordinate an array of highly skilled and motivated individuals to achieve a common goal: to keep everyone in Oxfordshire safe.

“Like any high performing business, there are a vast number of roles that fire station managers conduct, ranging from developing staff, to testing the latest rescue and communication technology, and engaging with local communities and businesses.  

“Responding to emergencies is part of the role, but most of the time is focussed on preparing and preventing incidents from happening in the first place.

“The opportunity to join the service through the direct entry process is a fantastic one.

“If you think this might not be for you because you have not got a fire or emergency services background, please think again.

“The training and development support is second to none. Many of the skills and experience you have in your current roles are what we are looking for. Working under pressure, leading teams, being innovative, articulate, setting and working to high expectations.

“Taking the first step into something different is a big one, but you will be supported at each stage. Even though I did not join the service through a direct entry process, I was the first visibly different ethnic minority manager in my former service, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

“Being the first in anything can be daunting, but it is also exciting. Diversity brings a fresh perspective and with the support of your colleagues – and we pride ourselves on that in Oxfordshire – you help build on our forward-looking culture.

“If you were to ask me what are three key skills that you need I would say:

“The ability to communicate well with the public, your colleagues and the many partners who we work with.

“Persistence and resilience when things feel difficult, realising you are never alone and your colleagues are there to help.

“And knowing how to adapt. Expect the unexpected. You could have planned a full day to present a new way of working to colleagues. But instead find yourself in the middle of an industrial estate, working with your team, your crew, to deal with a major incident.

“I have worked in other services, and one thing that is clear about Oxfordshire, you do not just manage things. You lead and innovate, sharing your experience with some of the brightest and committed individuals you will ever meet.

“Not everyone wears a uniform or rides a fire appliance, but we all play a vital part in the jigsaw to help educate. And prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.

“At the same time, 24/7 we are at the ready, at a moment’s notice, to fight fires and attend incidents ranging from chemical spills to traffic accidents, even animal mishaps such as horses stuck in ditches!

“Fancy a change, a role with diversity, excitement, responsibility, and the support and training that goes with it? My advice, go for it! or at least find out more.

“For further information about Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’ direct entry scheme, including how to apply, please see the Direct Entry advert.

“Alternatively, to discuss the role further, please email marcus.reay@oxfordshire.gov.uk or phone 07788 183050.”


Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is one of seven fire services, to join the pioneering pilot scheme, encouraging applications from individuals with proven leadership skills.

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