Ask the apprentice - Zach Burns

ZachZach Burns is one of our Chartered Managers Degree Apprentices (CMDA) who is currently studying at The University of Chester.

How did you get your Apprenticeship? 

I was working within the fire service when an opportunity arose to apply for a position on the CMDA. I applied for this position through an internal application programme, where I was interviewed and was successfully chosen.  I am currently working as a firefighter for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and stared my studies in September 2020.

What is it like being an apprentice working for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service?

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have been very supportive and have put a mentoring network in place, as well as putting me in contact with other members of the CMDA to support my studies.

What learning activities have you been doing in your off-the-job learning? 

I have taken part in various activities with the University of Chester. The first topic was self-reflection. I have already been able to use this training in the workplace in order to reflect on incidents I have attended. This sort of learning will assist my development as a firefighter and benefit me throughout my whole career within CFRS. I also believe it is a huge benefit to CFRS as well as my own reflection, and reflecting with peers promotes best practice and learning.

What has been the best part of your apprenticeship so far?

The best part so far has been attending the remote university lectures. The lecturers are extremely knowledgeable and really passionate about their subjects! This enthusiasm is infectious and has made learning all the new material really engaging and fun. I always enjoy learning new skills and it’s clear that there is a wealth of knowledge to tap into and expand my learning on many different topics.

How has the apprenticeship helped you achieve your career goals, and what do you hope to do next?

I hope to progress through the management structure within CFRS. I believe having a degree will give me the formal qualifications to achieve my future ambitions. I also believe the CMDA will give me more than just formal qualifications, it will give me knowledge and learning that I can use to aid my own development, ultimately making me a more professional and well-rounded firefighter and leader.

What tips do you have for people who want to do the same apprenticeship as you?

I would recommend you work hard to give yourself a solid understanding of the fire and rescue service as this will really aid you during the course. The course asks you to explore all aspects of not only CFRS but all fire and rescue services. Having an understanding of legislation and governance will help you analyse deeper into the running and operations of a large public sector organisation. This will result in a more thorough understanding, which hopefully translates into better learning and better grades!

We caught up with Zach 9 months into his apprenticeship, he told us:

“Since starting my degree in September 2020 I have developed from a Fire Fighter to Crew Manager in Road Safety. The course has given me the tools and has empowered me to develop my performance. The course subjects go hand in hand with my role and I am able to apply my learning on the job. The best part so far has been attending the remote university lectures. The lecturers are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects! This enthusiasm is infectious and has made learning all the new material really engaging and fun.”

Last updated: Friday 25 June 2021

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