Public Services student, William Leavesley, has always dreamt of a career in the Fire Service. After deciding A Levels weren’t the right path for him, William decided to enrol at Chesterfield College. He told us all about his hopes for the future, the range of work experience on offer and the support he has received from his tutors.
What attracted you to Public Services?
I’ve always wanted a career in the Fire Service, and I didn’t think A Levels were for me. A Levels just didn’t seem like something that would prepare me for the future I was aiming for. This course, on the other hand, allows you to learn about all the roles in the Public Services and develop useful skills for those roles.
If you decide not to go into a service and do something else instead, you’ve got all these useful skills that can be used in a wide range of careers, not just one specific area.
What transferable skills have you gained so far on the course?
Things like communication, map reading and teamwork. There are lots of skills like these which employers may look for, as well as specific qualifications for a role. Also, the work experience we get access to through college gives you a real edge, which you can use in the future.
What sort of work experience opportunities have you had access to?
Lots of different services have come into college. A few weeks ago, the Army came in and did a lot of activities to give us an insight into different Army roles.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service came in and set up a RTC simulation on Infirmary Road outside college. They demonstrated what really happens during a Road Traffic Collision and I was cut out of a car as part of that.
The Police also allowed us to witness a simulated robbery and we were interviewed as witnesses by student police officers. We also got time to talk to the student officers at the end, as they’d just gone through the process which some of us might be about to go through to get into the Police.
What is the process like to get into the Fire Service?
There are certain requirements to get into the Fire Service. You’ve got to have GCSEs in English and maths, and ideally science. You’ve got to pass fitness and swimming tests. You’ve got to have a driving license. You’ve got to be 18. It’s a very competitive process so you’ve got to know how to stand out. It’s good to have extra skills and maybe be able to show that you’ve helped out the community and volunteered on a regular basis to show that it’s something you can commit to.
What has your experience of support been like at college?
Within the first week of coming here we all knew our teachers and how to contact them on Teams. We all knew who our LEAP was. I’ve never needed the support of my LEAP but it’s quite nice knowing that they’re there if you do need them.
You definitely get more freedom than school because if you don’t have a lesson you can do what you want. You’re just expected to do your work and get it in on time, but at the same time if you did need the support it is still there for you and the teachers can really help you.
How are you assessed on the course?
All of the work is coursework, there are no written exams. Unlike an exam, where if you were to do badly that’s your set grade, if you don’t pass first time or you get a lower grade than you want, you have a chance to take on feedback, change the work and resubmit it. The teachers can then mark it again and if you’ve met the criteria you can get a higher grade.
Why Chesterfield College?
I’d heard quite a lot about a lot of different courses here and this course had a good reputation outside of the college. The bit that confirmed to me that it was what I wanted to do was one of the taster sessions. We came in and did a bit of crime scene stuff. The fact that you’re not just there sat at a desk, instead it’s something that you want to learn about and you can get really stuck in confirmed it for me. That was the bit that set it in stone almost.