Jesse Fryer was halfway through the Firefighting Technologies Certificate program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) when he was reminded that his choice of school was the right one.
The lead training officer for his class received a text message from a past graduate thanking him for the training he received and letting him know that the grad had just been hired at a fire department.
“That really stuck out as a benefit of taking this program,” Jesse said. “Just seeing past graduates actually get hired and seeing them succeed.”
Jesse has been nothing if not meticulous in pursuing his dream of becoming a career firefighter, which has always appealed to him since he was a boy in the air cadets.
He talked to firefighters who advised him to get qualified in a Red Seal trade to improve his chances of getting hired. Following that advice, he made that his first goal, becoming a heavy-duty mechanic and working for a truck dealership.
Then he set about making it possible to attend the seven weeks of hands-on, live-fire training at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus, Western Canada’s most extensive firefighting training facility. By then he was a married father of two with a full-time job and a mortgage, so it took a fair bit of planning and saving to achieve it, but he made it happen.
JIBC graduates: they get so much more hands-on training, they're much more confident going into the interview process
“I loved it, absolutely every second of it start to finish. The instructors were amazing. They are hard on the students but in such a productive way that they genuinely want their students to succeed which is what I loved about the program.”
He highly recommends the JIBC program and says the amount of hands-on training is part of the reason why. Both the part-time and full-time FFTC programs provide hundreds of hours of hands-on training to hone the skills they need to earn their firefighter certification. Programs at other schools may be as short as two weeks long, he said.
“I don’t understand how they can possibly fit everything in it in two weeks. There’s no way.”
In addition to the firefighting skills he gained, Jesse appreciates that the training officers were approachable and available to offer advice on how to improve his chances of being hired by a fire department. They taught him to be patient with the process. “Recruits might not get hired on their first application or second or third. The important thing is just to stick with it.”
Jesse won the Jon Baillie Memorial Award as the outstanding graduate of his class and is working part-time as a casual fire technician for JIBC when not plying his trade as a mechanic. All the while he continues to work towards getting hired for his dream job as a career firefighter, something that feels within reach now that he’s completed the FFTC program.
“JIBC graduates: they get so much more hands-on training, they’re much more confident going into the interview process.”
For more information on the Firefighting Technologies Certificate program at JIBC and to apply, visit jibc.ca/fftc.