Leonie Holt, 34, is a wholetime firefighter based at Rugby Fire Station and she joined Warwickshire Fire and Rescue in December 2020 after transferring from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Leonie was a professional squash player and had been considering what to do when she called time on her playing days.
She said: “I enjoyed being a professional player and I was able to travel to many countries, playing in different tournaments, but the constant travelling could get a bit tiring. I could have become a squash coach but wasn’t sure if the hours were going to be too anti-social. I wanted a job that had practical and academic elements. A friend of mine and fellow squash player had recommended a career in the Fire Service and it was something I had talked about for a few years.”
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service were recruiting in 2016 and Leonie submitted an application for Wholetime. She said: “I don’t remember being too concerned about the fitness parts of the recruitment process as I was already quite fit and strong from my squash career. Some people had said that there was a challenging ladder lift section but I didn’t find that a problem. I remember being unsure about a ladder climb test and how I would handle the height, but I was fine.
"I did some revision for the written exams and I did some preparation for the interview that was a little daunting as I had not had one in some time. There was no need to be nervous though.”
Leonie successfully joined the ranks of Wholetime firefighters in a cohort of 20 people and she has been serving communities in Derbyshire and now Warwickshire ever since.
“My favourite thing about the role is the variety of jobs: you could be with the same crew, in the same engine on the way to a location you have been to before and yet everything is new. You’re relying on the information provided quickly in a call reporting an incident and when you arrive, it can be dramatically different. I like that you can never be complacent and there’s always room for improvement.”
Speaking about diversity in Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Leonie said: “I’m part of the LGBT community and I have a young family of two boys. I have never felt like I have had to hide any aspect of my personal life and I have found the Service to be very open and accepting.”
This is the difference you make, working for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wholetimefirefighters