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CLASS OF 2022: James gets fired up about his degree in Fire & Rescue

CLASS OF 2022: James gets fired up about his degree in Fire & Rescue

James Noakes, 46, from Worcester, is getting fired up about graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Fire & Rescue at the University of Wolverhampton and is looking forward to starting a new career in the Fire Service.

James originally served in the Fire Service from the age of 22 as a Firefighter Crew Commander but left after 20 years to emigrate to Australia.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, he came back to the UK and, after looking for another role in the Fire Service, decided that, to open doors, he needed to upskill and get further qualifications.

He said: “All I know is the Fire Service and I thought it was timely and sensible to look at doing a degree which could further the knowledge I had already from working in the sector. Long term my aim is to re-enter the Fire Service at Station Officer or Fire Commander level because I’ve learned that leaving school with GCSEs isn’t going to cut it anymore if I want to further my career.

“The time seemed right for me with my daughter going to college, so I enrolled on the degree course in Fire & Rescue.”

James had left school and went straight into an Apprenticeship before joining the Fire Service.  He said: “I was always more of a practical person rather than an academic and that was my strength.  I was a bit lazy academically at school and just always wanted to be a firefighter.

“Going back to learning after 25 years was difficult but, three years later, I’m now sitting here with a First Class Honours degree. I drew on all of my industry knowledge to complement my academic learning and, with help from my lecturers who mentored me and supported me, I was able to achieve.”

In his third year of study, James was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and had 50% of his tongue removed. He had to learn to speak again at the same time as writing his dissertation and pushing through to the end of his final year.

He said: “The lecturers offered to defer me for a year while I had treatment for the cancer, but I decided to push on and get the job done.  I applied for extenuating circumstances and managed to finish my course – the First Class Honours award was amazing to achieve and I’m really proud of it.”

James is now in remission and looking forward to re-establishing his career in the Fire Service either at home or away.

Graduates are encouraged to keep in touch with the Alumni team and take advantage of a range of benefits and support on offer to them including a discount for Postgraduate study and opportunities to benefit from mentoring, volunteering and career advice. 



For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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