THE HAMPSHIRE fire service welcomed its highest ever intake of female firefighters at a graduation ceremony last week.

Following a successful recruitment drive and thorough application process in 2021, eight female candidates were offered a place on the course, more than ever before.

Of the new Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) recruits, four will be stationed in and around Southampton.

Adam Shaw and Chloe Chalk will be responding to incidents from Hightown whilst Angelo Aquilina is joining Eastleigh’s Blue Watch.

Aimee Gibson has left behind her role as a care home assistant to put out fires in Southampton with fellow graduate James Barnes as they join Red Watch at St Mary’s.

READ MORE HERE: Civic chiefs rescind plans for disposal of River Park Leisure Centre

Deputy chief fire officer, Shantha Dickinson, who presented the graduates with their certificates at the ceremony in Eastleigh, said: "I am delighted to see a record number of female graduates amongst our latest intake of firefighter recruits and offer my congratulations to all those graduating today.

"This is a momentous day for our new recruits who have all demonstrated our service values by showing respect, playing their part to support each other, and reaching further to fulfil their ambition of becoming firefighters working to make life safer across our communities.

"Our teams continue to work incredibly hard to showcase HIWFRS as an organisation which reflects our communities, with a culture that allows our people to thrive."

The graduates began their journey in September when they were split into two squads and welcomed by the HIWFRS Learning and Development team for the first day of training.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Rescue Service welcomed its highest ever intake of female firefighters at a graduation ceremony last week

Learning and development group manager, Andy Weeks said: "The role of a firefighter today is vastly different to what it was 10 to twenty years ago. Those beginning their careers now are taught a vast range of new skills suited to the modern fire service.

"Today our firefighters are more community focused than ever before, they are required to provide emergency medical care and deliver important safety messaging, as well as tackle fires and rescue casualties.

"Our graduates have displayed the professionalism and skill we expect of our firefighters and I am sure they will become valued members of their new teams, upholding the standards of our organisation within our communities."


Message from the editor 
Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support. 
Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from Winchester by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page, click this link and hit like
Kimberley Barber