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Support Assistant - Data
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service

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Kirsty J

00:00:03 My name is Kirsty J, I’m a support assistant for the operations department of Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade based in Edinburgh. Basically, my day would probably be planned out beforehand and it’s mostly data input and retrieval. So, it’s looking at statistics, getting statistics from the system and then collating them and then putting them into kind of draft reports and community partnership reports for Local Authorities.

00:00:34 I never, ever thought for one minute I would work for the fire service. I actually wanted to be a journalist and then things changed, life happened and I ended up taking a job by complete chance and ended up here. I’m not quite sure when the dream to become a journalist changed or fizzled out but I went from high school I went onto college and did my National Certificate and then Higher National Certificate and then life kind of determined that it wasn’t possible for me to go to university. I ended up leaving home quite young so and getting my own flat so it just made it kind of impossible to have a home life and go to university and then want to become a journalist. I’m kind of glad I didn’t now, anyway.

00:01:38 At the point of having my own flat I didn’t really have any idea what I was going to do. I just, I couldn’t sit around on the dole, basically so I wanted to kind of stand on my own two feet and prove that I could survive by myself so I ended up going to the local Job Centre and getting an interview for an office juniors job at a private forestry firm. It was very interesting and I’d never done office work before so it was something completely different and I hadn’t done office information studies or anything like that at school so it was like being thrown in at the deep end and I was there for three years and learnt a lot. I learnt how to use a computer, like they were back then but that seems ancient. Eventually I decided I wasn’t earning enough money and I could earn more and the opportunity came up for me to come to the fire service to be interviewed for a support assistance job.

00:02:49 Major turning points in my life would probably be leaving home, getting a new job, having a family of my own and in my current job I’ve actually been studying for three years for a qualification and I actually recently got those so I have certificates now to prove that I’m FSec trained. I think in, especially in the job I’m in now, I’ve come to realise that it’s always good to develop yourself. You know, you’ll never finish learning and although I regret not studying at school, now that I’m an adult and I’m in work and I have responsibilities it’s quite good to have something else to do. You know, to occupy your time and if you can get a qualification at the end of that then that benefits not only me but it benefits the fire service. ENDS


Kirsty J is a Support Assistant for the Operations Department of Lothian and Borders Fire Service. She uses the computer to fight fire as the data she collects becomes reports for others to use. She continues to learn, “In the job I’m in now, I’ve come to realise that it’s always good to develop yourself”.

More information about Other administrative occupations n.e.c.

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

25%  male 
75%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Job holders in this unit group are responsible for recording, filing and disseminating information for a business, organisation or individual not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 415: Other Administrative Occupations
There are no minimum academic requirements, although entrants usually possess GCSEs/S grades. Training is usually provided on-the-job. NVQs/ SVQs in Administration are available at Levels 2 and 3.
  • Stores information by filling in forms, writing notes and filing records;
  • Types reports, memos, notes, minutes and other documents;
  • Receives and distributes incoming and outgoing correspondence;
  • Checks figures, prepares invoices and records details of financial transactions made.
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