Three fire services are joining forces for the first time to run a joint training course for full-time firefighters.
West Sussex, Surrey and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are running the course which started on Monday, January 14.
Twenty-four recruits are taking part in a 13 week course to become wholetime community firefighters.
Of the 24 recruits, 12 are from Surrey, eight are from West Sussex, and four are from East Sussex.
The new recruits are being put through their paces at Surrey’s training centre Wray Park, with instructors from all three services as tutors.
Marvin Smith, course commander and training delivery manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with our neighbouring services in Surrey and East Sussex, and I am very pleased that this programme will pool our skills and experience to help our new staff be the best they can be.
“Being a firefighter is not an easy role, but I am sure our recruits will rise to the challenge as we teach them a range of new skills.
“I can’t wait for them to get started.”
Hannah Scott Youldon, assistant director of training and assurance for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are really pleased to be welcoming new recruits and it’s great that they will be training alongside colleagues in our neighbouring fire and rescue services.
“Becoming a firefighter is an exciting opportunity which we hope our recruits will enjoy.
“It’s not just about learning the practical skills around how to deal with emergencies, but also having resilience, good communication skills and committing to doing your best for the community you serve.”
Mark Arkwell, assistant chief fire officer for Surrey said: “We’re pleased to be joining forces with our partners in East and West Sussex to equip our latest recruits with the skills they need to be 21st century firefighters – how to keep themselves, their team-mates and Surrey residents safe, through protecting communities from incidents happening in the first place as well as responding if they do.
“It’s just one part of the ongoing work we’re doing to recruit the firefighters we need and this collaborative approach helps us do that in an efficient and effective way.”
For more information on recruitment see www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/west-sussex-fire-and-rescue-service/fire-rescue-recruitment/