Applicant Information Guide 2017
Introduction Thank you for your interest in becoming a CFA career firefighter. CFA encourages women and men from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds to apply for this role, which involves protecting lives and property alongside our 55,000 volunteers.
We encourage you to carefully read all the information in this booklet to make sure you are eligible and have all the relevant documentation. It is especially important to read the ‘Completing your Online Application’ section on page 8, as well as the position description.
To apply, you must hold a full, manual drivers’ licence, be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and be prepared to relocate within Victoria. While you don’t need previous experience or qualifications in firefighting, you do need to have good overall fitness – this will be tested at various stages. Experience as a CFA volunteer is always well regarded.
This role is very rewarding but also can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. CFA is therefore looking for people with the right attributes, including the ability to perform under pressure, and the ability to work closely in a team, along with diverse sections of the community.
When considering if this role is right for you, please talk to your partner, family and friends. Please also give consideration to the time commitment involved in the recruitment process, including the time you will need to dedicate to training and physical fitness.
Visit cfa.vic.gov.au/career to find:
- Suitability checklist
- Video footage of firefighters talking about their experiences
- Sample shuttle run and physical challenge test footage
- A current list of CFA integrated fire stations
- Schedule for upcoming information sessions and recruitment activities
- Information on Lateral Entry positions
- Additional advice for female applicants.
Two other supplementary guides are also available for you to download in PDF format.
- Physical Assessment Information Guide
- Reasoning Test Preparation Guide
CFA ‘s Career Firefighter Recruitment Team will do their best to answer any queries not covered in this booklet. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
CFA is one of the world’s largest volunteer-based emergency service organisations, serving over 3.3 million Victorians and helping to protect more than one million homes and properties.
Everything CFA does is focused on delivering the safest and best possible outcomes for communities. Our members respond to emergency incidents 24 hours a day, including wildfires, structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, road rescue, high angle rescue, trench and mine operations, hazardous materials incidents and flood assistance.
You can find CFA stations all across regional Victoria, and in outer metropolitan Melbourne suburbs such as Epping, Bayswater, Springvale and Werribee. CFA’s operations are carried out by an integrated force of volunteer and career firefighters, via an extensive network of infrastructure and equipment: our 1200-plus stations house over 2,100 fire trucks, all-terrain and rescue vehicles, and over 50,000 radios and pagers.
A critical part of effective emergency management is thinking ahead. As such, CFA allocates significant resources towards preventing fires, through a broad spectrum of risk management, public education, and land and vegetation management activities, to name a few. We work closely with a whole range of partner agencies including DELWP, SES, MFB, VICPOL and local government.
As one of Australia’s largest registered training organisations, CFA fosters an ethos of continuous learning. All CFA firefighters are trained to professional standards using nationally-recognised training programs.
Please note that this role does not require the technical knowledge referred to in this description. Recruit firefighters acquire this knowledge during the training course.
|Position Title: Firefighter||Incumbent: N/A|
Reports to: Leading Firefighter, Officer
Positions reporting to this position: Nil
|Primary purpose of the position:Provide a high standard of emergency response, including a proactive approach to risk management, within a professional integrated career/volunteer emergency service.|
|Key Result Areas:
|Key Selection Criteria:
|Other relevant information:
CFA is committed to providing a safe working environment for all employees. CFA must also ensure that employees are capable of performing their duties in a safe manner.
Eligibility, checks and requirements
Ability to relocate
Applicants must be prepared to work at any CFA integrated station at the completion of the recruit course.
All recruits are given the opportunity to indicate their preference from a list of available work locations, but there are no guarantees – placements are based on logistical need.
CFA provides financial assistance (up to $5,500) to individuals needing to relocate for a position or placement. Details are made available at the beginning of the recruit course.
Ongoing employment is subject to satisfactory completion of a six-month probationary period – this encompasses the 18/19-week recruit course as well as time on-station.
Licence and driving history
A full driver history report is required directly after the Physical Ability Test (Challenge) stage and can be obtained from VicRoads: call 13 11 71 or visit a Customer Service Centre. This cost (approx. $17.00) will be refunded if you are successful in gaining employment with CFA.
- You must have a non-probationary manual driver’s licence at the time of application.
- You must be prepared and able to gain a Heavy Rigid drivers licence prior to the commencement of the recruit training course.
- You must be able to provide a copy of your driving history report during the recruitment process.
If your driver history report indicates a history of repetitive or highly dangerous offences, including traffic infringements, your application will almost certainly be rejected.
Police Record Check
You must be prepared to authorise a National Police Record Check prior to a job offer. A form will be given to you by CFA – you will need to complete this, have it certified and return it to CFA by the designated time.
In most cases, the following convictions will result in your application being rejected: arson/fire setting, sexual offences, theft, burglary, fraud, obtaining advantage by deception, making false declarations, violent crimes and crimes against the person, false alarm raising, malicious damage and destruction of property, trafficking of narcotic substances conspiracy.
Note: any serious convictions listed on a criminal record (e.g. serious driving offences) will result in a request for additional information. To avoid disappointment down the track it’s strongly recommended that you to notify the recruitment team early in the process about anything that may show up on your police check.
Do this by completing a confidential Voluntary Disclosure Form: download this from cfa.vic.gov.au/ career (‘forms and documents’). CFA will generally get back to you within six weeks.
CFA needs to feel confident that anyone taking part in the physical assessments is not putting their health at risk. For this reason you are asked to have your health cleared by a medical professional before attempting the first assessment (beep test).
You will need to submit a Medical Clearance to Participate form to confirm you are fit to undertake the physical elements of the recruitment process. This needs to be completed and signed by a General Practitioner (family doctor) during a face-to-face appointment. Only applicants who are invited to attend the beep test should submit the Medical Clearance form; you will need to bring it along and hand it in on the day.
If you have any medical conditions with potential to affect your performance in the role, or the safety of others, it’s important that you discuss this with CFA; do this early in the process to avoid disappointment later on. Issues such as visual impairment, colour vision deficiency, allergies and asthma do not automatically rule you out, however you may be referred to the CFA medical practitioner for further advice.
A final pre-employment medical check is carried out before final job offers are made – note that this check is conducted by a CFA-nominated medical practitioner.
Permission to work in Australia
You must have permission to work in Australia to be eligible. If you are not an Australian citizen, you will need to submit evidence of your right to work in Australia.
Evidence may consist of a scan of the visa label in your passport, or written confirmation from the Department of Immigration.
The Department has a service called Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) which allows you to check your visa status and entitlements, and (with your consent) to forward this information to employers. Visit: www.border.gov.au/Busi/Visa
New Zealand citizens and 444 Visa holders must also provide evidence of their right to work in Australia.
Heavy Rigid (truck) licence
You will be required to obtain this licence prior to commencing the recruit course. This is ONLY a requirement for successful applicants who have received a verbal offer and accepted a place on the recruit course. Costs associated with obtaining the licence will be reimbursed by CFA up to $1,200.
This is the first step of the recruitment process. More information about further stages appears in the ‘Recruitment Process’ section on page 10.
We recommend reading through ALL the information in this section before starting your online application.
It is not possible to save an incomplete online application and return to it later.
Go to cfa.vic.gov.au/career and click on the ‘Apply Now’ button. This button will only appear when CFA is actively recruiting. You cannot submit an application outside of these times.
Your resume (CV)
You need to have your resume ready to upload when you complete the online form. This should be no larger than 2MB and in a Word or PDF format. When you save the document, make sure there are no spaces in the file name (e.g. Samantha_Jones_Resume_2015.docx). Your resume needs to include your work/education history. Do not omit any employers: your work history should list all positions you have held, including military experience, and part time, seasonal or volunteer work. Any gaps in your employment should be explained, and we encourage you to outline any recent involvement in community or team activities.
Your resume must also include:
- Your driver’s licence number (for identification purposes)
- A scanned copy of your driver’s licence. This needs to be inserted into the document as a picture, not attached as a
- separate file. In Microsoft Word, do this by saving the scanned image as a jpg or png file, then selecting ‘insert picture’.
- A scan of your current permanent work visa (if applicable). This must also be inserted into the document*.
How you set out and format your resume is entirely up to you, but ensure all previous employers are listed (add your most recent employers at the top). A sample template can be downloaded from www.careers.vic.gov.au/vacancies/ tips-for-applying This may be particularly useful if you have an overseas working background.
You will need to provide at least two referees as part of your application. These should ideally be past or current managers or supervisors. If you are self-employed or run your own business, established clients or contractors would be appropriate. Always check with your referees first to confirm their permission.
CFA will advise you if and when they will be contacting your referees – note that only candidates who reach the final interview stage of the recruitment process will have their references checked.
CFA volunteer reference check
If you are a current or former CFA volunteer, and have reached the final interview stage, the recruitment team will conduct checks in the relevant district. This is in addition to your regular work-based referees (see above).
Completing the online application form
Here is some of the key information you’ll be asked to provide:
- Confirm you agree with the privacy statement/application conditions
- Confirm that you have permission to work in Australia
- Confirm your willingness to relocate
- Confirm you have a full drivers licence
- Enter your full name and contact details
- Please ensure you have entered your current email and postal address
- Please ensure you have entered your driver’s license number correctly.
- There will be a range of questions about yourself, including sports and hobbies
- Provide your CFA member ID number if you are a current member.
- If you are a previous applicant, you will need to fill out an additional section outlining what you have done to develop certain areas of your application. This may require improvement in more than just one area e.g. studying to improve literacy and numeracy or improving your strength and fitness.
- It’s important you take care with this section and make a genuine effort to show how you’ve improved. A member of the recruitment team may contact you to follow up on this information.
- Provide your employment history* with your current or most recent employment first. Be sure to include your job title and each employer’s name and location.
- This section asks you to describe the type of work you have undertaken and whether your previous jobs involved shift work, or work in adverse conditions.
- Referee details*
*Note that you will still need to enter this detail in your resume. In your resume you can provide more detailed information on previous roles if you wish.
After your application is submitted
- An email will be sent to you immediately confirming that CFA has received your application.
- After your application has been reviewed, you will receive a second email notifying you whether you will proceed to the next stage.
If any of the details included on your application change please notify Career Firefighter Recruitment in writing via email@example.com
The first step in the recruitment process involves submitting an online application.
It’s important that you have everything prepared and ready to go before you start your online application – use the information on page 8-9 as a guide.
The recruitment process consists of several phases of testing over a period of three to six months, and for your application to be successful you will need to be prepared to make for testing during both business hours and weekends.
The first test you will be invited to (if your onlin eapplication is accepted) is the Beep Test.
To progress further from each stage you must meet set benchmark results. However, because this is a competitive process with limited places at each stage, achieving the minimum benchmark may not always be enough for you to proceed.
The final short list of candidates will consist of individuals who have achieved all the benchmarks, which includes a recommendation from the panel conducting the final interview.
Most correspondence from CFA is conducted by email, meaning you wlil need regular access to email. Candidates remain in the recruitment process until they are either deemed unsuccessful or offered employment, and CFA will keep you updated at each step.
Many of the tests candidates undertake as part of this process are designed to simulate the physical demands that firefighters face on the job. In addition to a beep test, physical testing includes tasks such as dragging hoses, climbing ladders or hauling equipment up steep inclines. All testing is conducted by trained physical assessors. If you have any physical or medical conditions that may affect your ability to perform any of the test activities please seek a confidential discussion with a member of the Firefighter Recruitment Team.
Each test carries a minimum benchmark standard which needs to be met for you to progress to the next stage. These benchmarks require an above-average level of strength, dexterity and aerobic fitness.
Note that unless you have been following a structured and holistic fitness regimen, it is unlikely that you will meet every benchmark. More information on how to prepare for the physical testing is in the Physical Assessment & Information Guide on the CFA website.
If you have applied for this role previously and passed some or all of the benchmarks, some aspects of the recruitment process may be different. As you move through the process CFA will let you know what is required. Note that:
- All applicants need to complete the beep test again even if they have achieved this benchmark in the past (a 6-month expiry period applies).
- Aptitude Test benchmarks are valid for 10 years, so if you are applying again within this timeframe you will not be required to re-do this test.
CFA policy supports and upholds fair and open competition based on the principles of merit.
Recruitment Process Chart
Submit an online application via cfa.vic.gov.au/career
Beep test (multi-stage shuttle run: 20 metres)
The beep test is designed to measure cardiovascular fitness and a minimum level of 9.6 is required for you to progress. Watch a sample beep test at cfa.vic.gov.au/career.
Note that you will be sent a Medical Clearance form when you are invited to the beep test (it is also available on the CFA website). Please do not send this form to CFA. You will need to bring the signed form along with you when you attend the beep test.
You will also need to provide the ‘Candidate Declaration’ form on the day.
Failure to do so will prevent you completing the test or void your application – we may not be able to re-schedule your beep test if you forget your forms.
When you receive an invitation to attend the beep test you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor to have the Medical Clearance form completed and signed. You must bring this form on the day of the beep test. If you forget it CFA may not be able to reschedule your beep test.
You will also need to provide the ‘Candidate Declaration’ form. Be aware that if you are successful in gaining a place on the recruit course you will be required to pass the beep test at least two times throughout the course.
Firefighter recruit training requires you to learn and absorb a number of vital skills and information over a short intensive period of time. Aptitude tests are therefore included in the process to ensure applicants are equipped to meet these demands – not only during the course but on the job.
These tests measure your ability to think and reason using words and language (verbal reasoning), numbers (numerical reasoning), and to visualise the relationship between moving parts in space (mechanical reasoning).
To meet the benchmark for this stage (and progress) you need to obtain an overall score in the average range or better. You can find more information and sample questions in the Aptitude Preparation Guide – download this from cfa.vic.gov.au
Remember: a capacity for learning and reasoning will be required well beyond these initial tests!
Screening interviews are generally held prior to the physical challenge test stage of the process. This 10-minute interview is conducted by a panel consisting of one operational staff member and a member of the Career Firefighter
As in any job interview, you will need to answer questions about your understanding of the organisation and the role, and talk about your skills and experience, giving specific examples to back up your answers. You will also be asked some behavioural-type questions, e.g. how you have reacted or responded to certain situations using your skill set in the workplace.
Interviews are scheduled in Melbourne and, where possible, selected regional centres.
Physical Ability Test(Challenge)
This practical test is designed to assess your endurance, upper body strength, flexibility, balance, dexterity, and ability to follow instructions across a series of common firefighter tasks. Visit the CFA website to view footage of a sample test, and download the Physical Assessment Information Guide.
On the day, CFA will provide you with standard firefighter gear consisting of protective helmet, jacket and pants (to wear over the top of your own clothing), however you will be required to provide your own suitable footwear; e.g. good quality work boots that allow for strenuous physical activity. Running shoes are not permitted.
Optional practice sessions are held prior to the actual test.
Personality profile (CPI)
All applicants are required to undertake a psychological questionnaire, which takes just over one hour and consists of a series of true/false questions. This is scheduled on the same day as one of the other assessments.
CFA uses the California Psychological Inventory (CPI). As the results are processed by an external provider, you will be asked to provide your consent for your test information to be passed on.
Final panel interview
The final Interview is a longer and more detailed version of the screening interview (see above), and generally takes one hour.
Asenior representative from CFA’s Fire & Emergecy Management department and the CFA psychologist will be present of the panel for this interview along with a member of CFA’s Career Firefighter Recruitment team.
CFA is looking for applicants who can speak fluently but naturally, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of their own attributes. You should be prepared to explain how the skills and experience you have gained in previous jobs will be transferable to the career firefighter role.
Notes are permitted, but as a memory-jogger only. Candidates who read from notes are unlikely to progress.
Referee, driving and police checks
The recruitment team will not commence referee, driving or police record checks until the final stage of the recruitment process. You will have the opportunity to update referee details at this time, and you will need to make sure that your referees are aware that they may be contacted at this point. See page 6 for more information on
checks and requirements.
Recruit courses are between18 to 19 weeks long and are held at the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) Craigieburn. Attendance is on a four-days-on, four-days-off basis and includes a training module relating to Emergency Medical Response.
The training is intensive, with both theoretical and practical elements, and recruits need to pass a number of practical assessments and written assignments to successfully graduate.
There are typically 30 recruits on each course, however this may vary for any joint courses held with MFB recruits. Accommodation arrangements are decided on a course-by-course basis and will be discussed with you during the final interview.
During the recruit course you will be advised of the location for your initial placement, and you will start work at that location immediately after your graduation from the course. You will have the chance to indicate your preference from a list of nominated stations, though that choice can’t be guaranteed.
You will be expected to keep learning even after you start on the job! New firefighters follow a structured continuation training program after completion of their recruit course. Upon successful completion of a six-month probationary period (encompassing the recruit course) you will be granted full employment status and the rank of Qualified Firefighter.
Career firefighters are based at the following 34 CFA integrated fire stations:
|Ballarat City||Cranbourne||Hoppers Crossing||Patterson River||Springvale|
|Caroline Springs||Geelong City||Morwell||Rowville||Warrnambool|
Career firefighters are covered by a federal Award and a Certified Agreement. For current pay rates please refer to the ‘conditions of employment’ page at cfa.vic.gov.au/career
Hours of work
Firefighters generally work two day shifts (08.00-18.00) followed by two night shifts (18.00-08.00), followed by four days off. This is known as the ‘10/14’ roster. New firefighters on probation work day shifts only, (four days on, four days off).
Individuals motivated to progress their career will find numerous opportunities at CFA.
CFA employees become part of the Emergency Service Superannuation Scheme. ESSS is a defined benefit superannuation fund which means contributions are paid to according to the rate you nominate on your superannuation form. CFA also makes contributions to the fund at a level determined by your personal contribution rate and by the fund actuary.
Read more about ESS super and options for voluntary contributions at at www.esssuper.com.au Recruits commencing employment with CFA will receive an information pack.
Forms and requirements checklist
Here is complete list of various forms and requirements that are referenced throughout this Application Guide. Items marked with a * can be downloaded from the CFA website.
|Item||What you need to do||When to provide this|
|*Privacy Statement||Tick the box to indicate your
|With your online application|
|Create this as a Word document or
PDF file and upload it
|With your online application|
|Drivers licence||Scan your licence and insert the
image into your resume document.
|With your online application|
|Show your licence when attending
assessments to validate your identity.
|At testing sessions|
|Evidence of your right
to work in Australia.
|Scan the visa label in your passport
or letter provided to you from the
Department of Immigration
|With our online application|
|Referee contact details||Provide contact details for at least
two referees who worked with you
in a supervisory role. Contact your
referees to confirm their consent.
|With your online application. CFA
will only contact your referees if you
make it to the final shortlist.
|CFA Member ID number||Have this ready to provide (current
CFA members only)
|With your online application|
|National Police Check||Ensure you have the 100 points of ID
necessary to complete this.
Complete the form given to you by
CFA and have it certified.
|During the recruitment process – CFA
|Use this form to notify CFA of
anything that may come up in your
|After submitting your online
|*Medical Clearance to
|Arrange an appointment with your
GP to complete this as soon as you
receive an invitation to attend the
|At the beep test – ensure you bring
the completed and signed form with
you on the day
|Complete and sign this form to
confirm your agreement with the
conditions and requirements of the
|At the Beep Test|
|Heavy Rigid Truck
|Obtain this licence ahead of the
recruit course. Costs to $1,200 are
|Prior to the commencement of the
recruit course (only for successful
applicants who have received a
Frequently asked questions
This list of FAQs has been compiled by the Career Firefighter Recruit Team to reflect some of the most common queries they receive. Please read through this section carefully – if you have a question that isn’t covered here contact the Career Firefighter Recruitment Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9262 8249.
How often does CFA recruit?
The timing of campaigns (recruitment drives) varies and depends on operational need. CFA generally recruits once per year.
Is there a closing date for applications?
Yes – the closing date for each recruitment campaign appears near the APPLY NOW button at cfa.vic.gov.au/career
Be aware however that there is a set number of maximum applications for each round of recruitment. If this limit is reached before the closing date, applications will close earlier than the advertised date.
In recent years the database has been open for as little as two weeks – so submit your application as soon as you can.
How can I know when CFA is recruiting?
You will need to monitor the CFA website, and look out for advertisements in local media. Recruitment campaigns are promoted via posts on CFA Facebook (or the ‘CFA Members’ Facebook page if you are a current member).
What if I am currently living interstate or out of Australia?
You must currently reside in Australia to be eligible. If you do live in another state or territory you will need to be prepared to make several trips to Victoria to participate in testing at your own expense.
What if I am already a firefighter working with another Australian or NZ fire service?
We welcome your application, but be aware that all applicants need to follow the same recruitment and training process regardless of their background. It is very important to ensure consistency in the way our firefighters operate – for this reason all recruits must attend the full recruit course and complete all assessments.
I am a CFA volunteer – do I still have to do all the training?
Yes – see the response above.
I’m a female, is it worth applying? Is there any additional advice you can offer?
CFA is keen to increase the number of female career firefighters and actively encourages women to apply. Look out for ‘Women in firefighting’ Information sessions advertised on the CFA website and visit cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer-careers/ women-in-firefighting/
What if I move house during the recruitment process?
It’s is your responsibility to keep CFA informed if any of your details change, by contacting the Career Firefighter Recruitment Team by phone or email.
I wear glasses, can I still apply?
You must be able to wear 24-hour contact lenses (i.e. the ones you can leave in while sleeping). Please email the career firefighter recruitment team early in the process to bring this to their attention. Ultimately a decision regarding your vision and suitability for the role will be made by the CFA medical practitioner
Should I submit a cover letter with my attached resume?
No cover letter is required, just a clear, legible resume (see page 8).
When should I give CFA my Medical Clearance Form?
You don’t need to submit this form unless you have received an invitation to attend the beep test. As soon as you receive this invitation you should make an appointment to see your doctor about completing the form.
What level of education do I need to be a career firefighter?
There is currently no minimum level of education for the role of career firefighter, however you will need to have Maths, English and mechanical reasoning skills at an approximately Year 11 level.
Can studying Fire Technology help my chances?
Can it count toward my training?
If you have studied Fire Technology you should certainly use this to demonstrate the value that you could bring to an organisation like CFA. All recruits regardless of their knowledge and experience complete the full recruit course.
How long between assessments during the recruitment process?
The time between each of the stages is usually around 2-6 weeks but may be longer. A number of logistical and operational factors (including timing of the recruit courses and severity of the fire season) can affect the timeline. CFA does its best to keep all applicants informed at every stage.
How do I prepare for the beep test?
You can obtain a copy of the beep test for practice purposes (see page 12 for details).
It’s important however that you don’t limit your preparation to the beep test – you need to be prepared to undertake other physical assessments that focus on strength; particularly hand, forearm and upper body strength.
You should follow a structured and holistic fitness regimen as part of your preparation.
Are there any services (coaching/mentoring etc.) CFA can recommend that might boost my chances?
Please be wary of people charging money for services to help you pass interviews or aptitude tests.
We recommend you attend any information and practice sessions available, and refer to the supplementary guides on the CFA website.
Do I need to have a truck licence to be a career firefighter?
You do not need to have a heavy rigid (truck) licence before you submit you initial online application. However, you do need to be willing and prepared to obtain one. You’ll only need to do this if you are accepted on to a recruit course via a verbal offer.
If my application is unsuccessful, can I apply again?
You are permitted a maximum of three unsuccessful attempts at any one stage of the recruitment process (e.g. final interview or beep test). After those three attempts, you will not be permitted to submit another application.
All material in this publication is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international licence with the exception of any images, photographs or branding, including CFA and government logos. Material obtained from this publication is to be attributed as: © State of Victoria (Country Fire Authority) 2016
Please read through the information in this guide before contacting us!
© State of Victoria (Country Fire Authority) 2016