Firefighter Evan Fisher

A university graduate, sporty Evan knew before he had finished his business degree that he didn't want a 9 to 5 office job. After working in temporary roles for the Department for Education and Skills and the police, aged 26 he applied for the fire service.

He says: "I looked into jobs that relied on shift work, had a practical side to them and were about helping people. I liked the idea of waking up and going to a job where I was helping people and could go home feeling I'd made a difference.

"The appeal of the fire service was the physical challenge, but it was also knowing that in 10 or 15 years, when you want more of a mental challenge, you can progress."

He admits that despite having a degree in business and being able to see the organisational, wider picture of the emergency services, he still just wanted to ride in the fire engine.

Evan explained: "When I came in, all I wanted to do was sit in the back of a fire engine and even now, I still love doing that. However, more recently, I've been acting up (taking on more responsibility) and looking for the next challenge. I felt I needed something else and doing this has given me the opportunity to take more on in the office and in managing people. You make different decisions and I felt I had been in the job long enough now to start progressing and being mentored."

He continues that going to university has given him the discipline required of a firefighter working in a pressured environment and the ability to learn theory.

"A business degree will be of more use higher up in the organisation when you have the opportunity to manage and make decisions about the bigger picture. I know other people who have studied the sciences at university and there are parts of the job where they can be applied more because of our role in working with things like chemicals and understanding combustion rates."

But what is Evan's favourite part of the job? "Just being part of the watch - it's a dysfunctional family but everyone has their place and it makes work enjoyable. I ultimately still love going to operational jobs and making a difference to people's lives. You get such a buzz from a job well done. You know you've done the best you can and have made a difference," he says.

Evan explains the physical side of being a firefighter is most appealing to him.

He comments: "When at university I played a lot of sport and I was concerned about losing that physical activity in my day-to-day life.

"I wish I could say that when I was younger I wanted to grow up to be a firefighter but being honest, I loved sport so much I would have seen myself playing football or rugby. I'm not too sure I would have cut it for Liverpool FC but I loved the physical side of things and being a part of a team. I guess, it is those elements that make this role very similar. Although, it's not losing a match here, it's someone's life that your team is saving. That means a lot to me.

"It's not just a solo effort; it's all about team working."

Evan goes on to explain that working shifts in the fire service comes with sacrifices, like missing weekends, working Christmas and important dates.

But, he says: "The rewards knowing you've helped someone or saved their house, or even their child, is a feeling I don't think you get from many jobs.

"I knew I wanted a job with a physical side in which I could help someone . If you've just left university and that approach appeals, then the fire service is a good route to take, especially as you can then go on to progress yourself."