Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan (who plays feisty Tina McIntyre in the popular soap) is fronting the 'Ordinary People, Extraordinary Careers' campaign (www.direct.gov.uk/extraordinary) to raise awareness among young girls aged 14 - 16 of a career in the Fire & Rescue Service.
Michelle took part in a firefighting challenge doing various firefighter training exercises and is determined to prove that she's got what it takes to be a firefighter. She wants to inspire young girls across the country and show them that they could have what it takes too.
Speaking about the challenge Michelle, whose uncle is an operational firefighter in her home town of Manchester, says, "I'm really looking forward to finding out what's required to join the Fire & Rescue Service. I know it's going to be a challenge but I'm up for it. This is something that's close to my heart. My uncle is a firefighter and has always been a real inspiration to me so I'm incredibly proud to be supporting this campaign. I want girls to realise that firefighting isn't just a 'job for the boys' - it's all about dedication and perseverance - you can do anything if you put your mind to it!"
The challenge that Michelle took part in includes lifting and running with firefighting equipment and taking part in typical circuit training to maintain fitness. These are examples of tests that firefighters have to complete before beginning their initial training with the Fire & Rescue Service and are a good indication of what skills are needed.
Female firefighter Dany Cotton is Deputy Assistant Commissioner for London Fire Brigade and member of Networking Women in the Fire and Rescue Service, she says, "In the Fire and Rescue Service women firefighters do exactly the same job as men and it's great that Michelle is taking part in this firefighting challenge to bring attention to this."
"Being a firefighter isn't about being exceptionally strong. Nor does a firefighter only fight fires. Firefighters have to be good communicators, sensitive to people's needs and vulnerabilities. Girls should no longer worry about whether they would be able to succeed in a career that has traditionally been dominated by men. I did it. So can they."
For information on careers in the Fire and Rescue Service visit: www.direct.gov.uk/extraordinary
To view photographs that accompany release please follow the link below:
Notes to editors
1. Women make up 3.6 per cent of all firefighters in England. They comprise 3.5 per cent of wholetime firefighters and 3.8 per cent of on-call firefighters (ie those who have other primary employment or role).
2. For further information on the 'Ordinary People, Extraordinary Careers' campaign, images of Michelle Keegan in action, and case studies of female firefighters please contact:
3. For general queries on fire and rescue policy please contact Communities and Local Government press office Tel 0303 4441138. Out of hour tel 0303 4441145. www.communities.gsi.gov.uk
The campaign aims to raise the profile and change perceptions of the role of firefighter, in order to reach a wider, more diverse audience to ensure the Fire and Rescue Service has the skills needed for the modern world. Evidence shows that a more representative Fire and Rescue Service is better equipped to provide appropriate fire safety advice to our many communities preventing fires from happening in the first place.
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