Carrick man lands dream firefighter role at airport

An aspiring firefighter from Carrickfergus has passed a significant milestone in George Best Belfast City Airport’s ‘High Flyers Apprenticeship’ programme to secure full time employment within the Airport’s fire service.

Jack Leathem who beat off stiff competition from over 200 applicants to secure his place on the coveted High Flyers programme, will now progress to his role as an operational firefighter at the UK and Ireland’s most convenient airport after excelling through the first phases of a rigorous training process.

Alongside three other apprentices from Northern Ireland, Jack has completed qualifications in advanced medical casualty care, confined spaces, and hose deployment, and will continue his development programme to gain qualifications in LGV advanced driving of major foam appliances, working at heights, and water rescue – an element unique to Belfast City Airport.

Following a graduation ceremony attended by his proud family, Jack, who will now operationally join a watch within the airport as a competent aviation firefighter, said: “To get the chance to train as an aviation firefighter is a privilege but to then land employment with an organisation like Belfast City Airport is unbelievable so I’m incredibly thankful to the team there for the opportunity, the training, and the welcome they’ve given me and the other boys so far.”

Young Carrickfergus man, Jack Leathem, lands dream role as operational firefighter

Seamus MacMahon, Chief Fire Officer at Belfast City Airport, said: “Supporting and developing young people like Jack is something we are incredibly passionate about here at Belfast City Airport and it’s an honour for us to be able to transfer our skills to the next generation and give them a chance to kick-start long and valuable careers in aviation firefighting.

“The incredible hard work and determination Jack has shown throughout his training programme to date has been second to none and we are incredibly proud of him for reaching this significant milestone.

“Jack possesses the confidence and key traits of a successful firefighter. We are delighted to have him join our team at the airport and look forward to working with him as he progresses through the next stages of his training programme.”

Now in its ninth year, Belfast City Airport’s High Flyers Apprenticeship programme has had a 100% success rate so far in graduating young people in Northern Ireland from apprentices to full time employment.