Work and Skills GMCA Police + Fire

Double delight for Greater Manchester apprenticeship work

Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local firefighter Joe Cegla have been announced as finalists in the North West Apprenticeship Awards

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has been named as finalist in the large employer of the year award, building on a tradition of apprenticeship recognition.

GMCA has appeared in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers since 2021, ranking 37th in 2022. The authority has also been named as the top public sector employer for employing apprentices in Greater Manchester with currently 8.56 per cent of employees being an apprentice, beating the public sector target of 2.3 per cent. Apprenticeships here have an achievement rate of 88.9 per cent, one of the best in the country.

The organisation has been committed to promoting apprenticeships as an employer and across the wider city-region. An innovative new scheme was launched by GMCA to boost skills across Greater Manchester. After recognising there is a national and local skills shortage in town planning and surveying GMCA worked with the 10 local councils across Greater Manchester to employ an apprentice in each borough. They are undertaking a tailored programme of learning, including the policy officer apprenticeship, with the intention that they will retain those skills in the borough.

Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said:

“Developing and nurturing talent is fundamental to our, and the Mayor’s, ambitions. To be shortlisted as an employer and see Joe shortlisted for apprentice of the year is superb recognition for the value we’re rightly placing on apprenticeships, not just in our own organisation but across the city-region.”

214 apprentices are employed on a range of courses from business admin, payroll, policy, accountancy or technical solutions. Being joint with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service also means the Level 3 Operational Firefighter Standard is available. Over 250 firefighters have completed this apprenticeship and there are currently 180 currently on their apprenticeship, futureproofing the workforce.

Success has come for one such firefighter. Joe Cegla at Whitefield Fire Station recently completed his Gateway assessments for the Operational Firefighter Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard and gained distinctions across the board. This is particularly challenging for this standard given the breadth of criteria and gruelling assessments to ensure Greater Manchester firefighters are of the highest standard.

Joe consistently goes above and beyond in his role to ensure the safety of the people of Greater Manchester, and his crew, by ensuring that his skills are to the highest standard and having a consistent pro-active approach to his training and work.

As part of his apprenticeship Joe completed an initial training programme lasting 16 weeks which gave him all the underpinning skills needed to be safe on an incident as an apprentice firefighter. These covered pumps and ladders, breathing apparatus, road traffic collision training, community education to prevent incidents and engaging with a range of people who might be at risk. It also includes water rescue, initial emergency trauma care and fire safety, which covers the protection of people and buildings.

Once he completed this extensive programme he continued his apprenticeship at Whitefield Fire Station working on a watch on a shift pattern, undertaking more in depth tailored training and attending real life incidents. 

Joe has gone above and beyond by analysing the incidents him and his crew attend and looking into trends and what could be done to reduce the incidents and keep the local community safer.

Speaking on his nomination Joe said:

“I’ve always wanted to do a job with variety that would have a positive impact on the community and being a firefighter is just that. It’s a fantastic career to get in to and I’m so proud to have been shortlisted for this award.

“I want to keep learning and developing my skills and there are so many opportunities for me to do this with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. I’m working hard to work my way up to crew manager and in time I hope to become a trauma technician.”

Dave Russel, Chief Fire Officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“This is brilliant news for Joe and for the wider service. We believe that our firefighters are the very best and award nominations like these recognise that. Our training team work incredibly hard to train up new firefighters and ensure our service goes from strength to strength.

“Joe is so passionate about his role, I know he has been influential in helping our apprenticeship programme become even better for new starters by being helping enhance the curriculum. His involvement has been invaluable and contributed to our recent Ofsted inspection rating us an overall judgement of ‘Good’.

“We’ll all be cheering Joe on in the finals, we’re incredibly proud of him.”

Article Published: 23/01/2023 18:22 PM