Imagine a career where you make a real difference to people's lives every day.  Imagine a job where no two days are the same.  If saving lives is your thing and you're up for a challenge, a career within the emergency services sector could be just for you.  Find out more about the surprisingly wide range of jobs, the skills needed, courses and more!

The Police employed 

people in Wales as of March 2017
(The Home Office, 2017).

Employment in the Fire and Rescue Service has fallen by 28%
in the last 10 years across the UK
(Skills for Justice, 2016)


The paramedic profession in Wales is set to grow by 24%
between 2014 and 2024, with 1059 job openings created.
(Working Futures, 2014-2024)

The Fire and Rescue
sector in Wales employed

around 5,000 people as of July

2017 (Skills for justice, 2017) and the Ambulance Service employed

  3,000  as of September 2016.

(Stats Wales, 2017)


This sector includes the well-known front-line jobs you already know, but don't forget that the police, fire services and Ambulance services are large employers that need all types of people to make their services work.  There are jobs in areas such as finance, human resources, training and development and maintenance to name just a few.


Remember that the above are a sample only; check services websites for vacancies.



You'll need to be a people person but also organised and resourceful.
Particular skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills, including explaining, negotiating,
    being calming and reassuring.
  • Being organised and motivated.
  • Being physically fit and healthy for frontline roles.
  • Ability to cope with difficult situations
  • Being safety-conscious and professional
  • A good standard of general education such as GCSEs grades A*- C
  • Other skills - customer service skills, being a team player and being able to work alone, general IT skills, literacy and numeracy skills.


School or College

To work in the emergency services sector you normally need to have a good general education, such as 5 GCSE grades A*- C, including English or Welsh Language, Maths / numeracy and sometimes 1 or 2 science subjects.

To be a Police Officer, you’ll need to have done level 3 qualifications like A levels or a BTEC Extended Diploma. However, From 2020, all new Police Officers will need to be educated to degree level. This will involve studying for a degree, completing a three-year degree apprenticeship or taking a postgraduate conversion course. Therefore, you'll need qualifications at level 3 from school or college to get started.

A course in public services can give you a basic understanding of the uniformed public services and may help you prepare for applying for a job there.

Courses like:

  • BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Services
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services
  • BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Vocational Studies (Sport and Public Services)
  • BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Uniform Services

Search for full-time school and college courses 


Apprenticeships are available in this sector.  Check the employer's website for vacancies or search on the Apprenticeship Matching Service from Careers Wales. Degree Apprenticeships in Policing are expected to become available in Wales from 2019.

Find a Course

Other Courses

The Certificate in Knowledge of Policing is a short level 3 course that can give people a basic knowledge of policing issues.  It is normally completed part time over a number of weeks.  Some forces now require new applicants to have it.
The College of Policing website has more information.

Find a Course

Higher Education


You don’t need a degree for most front-line jobs although you will have to study at this level to be a paramedic. Also, having a degree is set to become more important when applying to be a police officer in the future. Degree courses can give you relevant knowledge and skills which may help you get that job. Examples are:

  • BSC (Hons) Police Sciences (this can include the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing)
  • BA (Hons) Policing
  • FBSC Policing (Foundation Degree)
  • BSC (Hons) Forensic Science
  • DipHE Paramedic Sciences (2 year HE Diploma)
  • HND Public Services

Find a HE Course



Search vacancies

100% of Paramedic Science graduates from Swansea University were in employment in relevant paramedic posts within 6 months of graduation (Unistats, 2016).


People who join the emergency services, at whatever level, have the option to train and develop so their pay and responsibilities can increase over time.  Remember that there is a range of jobs, from IT to finance, from maintenance to catering to management.  Here are some examples of front-line salaries:

Police Officer

£19,500 - £37,000 per year, or with some experience can start at £22,500

Police Community Support Officer

£16,000 - £18,000, rising to £22,000 - £26,000

Crime Scene Investigator

£19,000 - £34,000

Fire Fighter

Trainees start at around £21,000 and once competent it roses to around £28,000 per year.  Higher ranks earn more.


£12,200 - £27,600 (NHS band 5) although this is set to rise to band 6 in the near future (Welsh Government, 2017); this may be different if working in the private sector.

Emergency Care Assistant

£16, 100 - £19,100

Emergency Control Room Operator

£14,000-£17,500, rising to £20,000-£26,000

Cascaid, 2017



Becoming a volunteer can give you relevant experience and skills that employers in any sector will like.  In the Police, you can become a Special Constable.  The Specials are volunteer police men and women that give up their own time to serve their community.  Find out more on the Police Could You site.  You have to be 18 to join.  If you are under 18, you could become a Police Cadet.  Find out more via your local force.

There are other volunteering roles available in the police and within the ambulance services, such as in communications and admin, assisting the public or even checking custody suites to see that those being held are being treated well.  Contact the service you are interested in for more details.






Fire Service

Ambulance Service

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