Four Firefighter Apprentices on Board at Belfast City Airport

Posted By:
George Best Belfast City Airport

11th Feb 2022

The sky’s the limit for four young men from Northern Ireland as they land dream roles at George Best Belfast City Airport as firefighting apprentices.

Conor Finch, Damien Wisdom, Jack Leathem, and Cole McClelland fought off stiff competition from over 200 applicants to secure their positions on the highly coveted two-year programme, and their appointments set a new record for the number of apprentices the airport has employed at any one time.

Each firefighting apprentice will undergo a rigorous training programme during which they will gain on-the-job experience and qualifications in areas such as aviation fire-fighting tactic and techniques, LGV advanced driving of major foam appliances, hose deployment, branch handling, working at heights, confined spaces, advanced medical casualty care, and the wearing of breathing apparatus.

All four individuals will also participate in live fire demonstrations and engage in boat handling and water rescue courses, a training aspect unique to Belfast City Airport due to its proximity to the harbour area, before becoming fully-fledged members of the airport’s Fire Service and operationally joining their watch as competent aviation firefighters.

Speaking of the unrivalled opportunity Belfast City Airport has given him, Damien Wisdom from west Belfast, said:

“When I came across the recruitment call for firefighting apprentices at Belfast City Airport, I was working part-time considering my next career move, so I jumped at the chance to apply, and it’s been the best decision I have ever made.

“The training to date has been first-class and I’ve no doubt I’m in the best hands to help me build a long career in aviation firefighting.”

Conor Finch also echoed that sentiment:

“I have always dreamed of being a firefighter so to get the opportunity with an organisation like Belfast City Airport is unbelievable.
“I’m incredibly lucky to have been successful in my application and I can’t wait to see the skills and confidence I’ll gain throughout this apprenticeship.”

Airport Fire Service apprenticeships are facilitated through the airport’s High Flyer’s Apprenticeship scheme, now in it’s ninth year, and have a 100% success rate in securing full-time employment for apprentices upon graduation.

Seamus MacMahon, Chief Fire Officer at Belfast City Airport, said:

“Our new recruits have hit the ground running and have already demonstrated great enthusiasm and determination in their training.

“This year we have four young people on-board, the highest number of apprentices we have had at any one time here at the Airport Fire Service, which shows the demand for roles and opportunities like this in Northern Ireland.

“We had a record number of applications this year too, all of an exceptionally high-calibre, but Conor, Damien, Jack and Cole stood out as remarkable candidates right from the beginning, and we can’t wait to watch them grow into fully-qualified firefighters who will excel in their careers.”

For more information on Belfast City Airport’s High Flyer’s Apprenticeship Scheme, visit