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VFRS to CFRS Pathway

Volunteers from Busselton VFRS

The Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association would like to see a pathway created for those Fire & Rescue volunteers who would like to become a career (paid) firefighter.

Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association’s Executive Member Tony Dodd (from Mandurah Volunteer Fire and Rescue (VFRS)), attended a Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Chief Superintendent’s meeting in 2022, where it was decided that the Association would put forward a written proposal for implementing a Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services (VFRS) to Career Fire & Rescue Services (CFRS) pathway. It was suggested at this meeting that a pathway to an Area Officer also be included.

At a meeting with the Minister for Emergency Services, the Honourable Steven Dawson MLC, Senior Policy Advisor Mathew Dixon and representatives from the Association in 2022, the Minister raised the topic of a pathway for volunteers to career firefighters.

Early 2023 the Association discussed possible pathways and a document was prepared outlining two possible pathways, VFRS to CFRS and VFRS Volunteer to DFES Area Officer.

Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association Executive Officer Tim Sonsee and Executive Member Tony Dodd met with Mathew Dixon again in October 2023, and discussed the concept of creating a variety of VFRS to DFES career pathways including:

·        CFRS

·        area officer

·        rural district officer and

·        community emergency services manager roles.


It was requested at this meeting that the final document be forwarded to the Minister for consideration. The document was also provided to DFES.

The Minister provided the Association with feedback in November 2023. Essentially, the Minister stated that to proceed with the recommended pathways would be in violation of the Public Sector Recruitment Standards and procedures laid down for the selection of persons for Public Sector positions.

“The reply was not what we wanted but at the same time we do not interpret the response as a definite no,” says Executive Officer Tim Sonsee. The Association believes that there is room for movement in respect to this, particularly where the Government can positively discriminate in other Public Sector positions.

The topic, and the minister’s response, is on the agenda of the upcoming VFRS Association executive committee meeting (taking place on Saturday, 2 February 2024). We anticipate there will be further conversations held with DFES and the Minister, to work together on a solution.

“As an Association, we further encourage our volunteers to pursue a career within DFES either with CFRS, or other areas of interest at DFES,” says Executive Officer Tim Sonsee.

Find out about careers on offer at DFES here.


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