While Patrick Conley has a long-established career as a carpenter, he’s always wanted to be a firefighter.
Thanks to the part-time Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), he’s now making that dream job a reality.
“I have family and an established career and couldn’t feasibly take time off to complete the full-time [FFTC] program, so was excited to learn that JIBC was offering a part-time program to meet the needs of a full-time working dad/husband. The part time offering helped me make my long-time goal of firefighting that much more achievable.”
The part-time FFTC program offers the same level of applied education and hands-on training as the full-time version – up to 12 weeks of online knowledge-based courses followed by seven weeks’ worth of hands-on, live-fire training at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus spread out over three months on evenings and weekends.
I was excited to learn that JIBC was offering a part-time [firefighting] program to meet the needs of a full-time working dad/husband
At the Maple Ridge campus, students gain invaluable firefighting experience using a wide range of simulation props at Western Canada’s most extensive firefighting training facility. They learn to effectively put out fires and safely rescue people training on facilities like a three-storey concrete building designed to be regularly set ablaze, an 11-car train derailment prop, and vehicles they can practise cutting apart using the jaws-of-life.
Patrick appreciated the fact that the JIBC instructors included training officers from fire halls across Metro Vancouver. They gave a broad overview and insight into how operations work in different municipalities, he said. They offered advice to ensure students were well prepared in their journey to become career firefighters with most going above and beyond to help them in the program.
“JIBC sets their standards at a level where they are setting you up for success. When we learned our skill sets, we didn’t just learn them, we were taught to carry out all tasks at a ‘craftsman’ level, teaching me to set my standards high.”
Patrick says the most memorable part of the program was the last day.
“We got to showcase our skills and abilities for our families and friends. Seeing the look on my children’s faces and how happy and excited they were for me and to see my family watch me live one of my dreams is something I won’t forget.”
He’s continuing to take steps towards a full-time firefighting career after being hired on as a paid on-call recruit firefighter with the Maple Ridge Fire Department. He believes his JIBC training and the connections he’s made through the program were instrumental in helping him get the job as the hiring process is very competitive.
“I would recommend this program to anyone who has wanted to become a firefighter and who has felt as though they haven’t had the time because families, friends, work or life is in the way,” Patrick said. “Not only did I get the tools, skill and certificates needed to pursue a career in firefighting, I feel like I gained friendships, relationships and a sense of camaraderie that I will be forever grateful for.”
Applications are now being accepted for upcoming part-time and full-time classes of the program. For more information visit JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate program page.