RAF veteran jets off on new career with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
A former aircraft engineer is determined to show that age is just a number after fulfilling his dream of becoming a wholetime firefighter – at the age of 56.
Michael Rimmer is preparing to take on his new role with Green Watch at Aberdeen Central Community Fire Station after a 31-year career with the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The RAF veteran graduated this week with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service alongside 92 fellow trainees at a ceremony in Lanarkshire. This follows 12 weeks of gruelling training.
Michael said : "Just because you may be a bit on in years, it doesn't mean you don't have a lot to offer.
"Working alongside young people half my age was quite amusing, but we were all in it together and everyone was very supportive.
"I suppose there was a bit of a fatherly role involved. People did ask me for advice on ironing their shirts and polishing their shoes!
"But I loved the challenge and do wonder why I didn't do this years ago."
Michael, originally from Carlisle, moved to Foyers in the Highlands in 2018 with his wife, Alison. Shortly after moving north, he joined the SFRS ranks as an on call firefighter, responding to emergencies via a pager system. Michael and Alison then moved to the Aberdeenshire village of Banchory last November, where he continued in his on call role from his new hometown station.
In addition to his full-time firefighter role in the city of Aberdeen, Michael intends to maintain his on call role back home in Banchory.
He said: "There is an enormous sense of achievement involved with the on call firefighter role.
"Responding to people who are in dire straits and doing everything you can to help them makes you proud to wear the badge. Becoming an on call firefighter is something I would recommend to anyone."
Ready to embark on his new career, Michael has a simple message for anyone considering a career protecting the people of Scotland.
He said: "If you are fit enough and work hard, then anyone can do it.
"The fire and rescue service won't discriminate against you and will support you to succeed. It's never too late."
Michael will be joined at his new home station by fellow graduate and military veteran, John Cairns - who was recognised as best trainee.
John, 43, from Lossiemouth, said: "It is quite emotional, moving from the military after 24 years to the civilian world, but I already feel part of the SFRS family so it makes it easier.
"The journey only starts when I get to the fire station, but I look forward to the learning and development over the next three years."
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson is the SFRS Head of Training.
He said: "These events are always a highlight for the Service as we welcome new recruits to help us protect communities across Scotland.
"Both Michael and John show there is no one size fits all approach to becoming a firefighter.
"We are absolutely committed to showing that age, gender, religion, or sexuality are no barrier to succeeding with the SFRS. We do have high standards, but we will work with you every step of the way to support you in meeting them.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all graduates on their hard work over the past three months and wish them well as they now go on to protect communities across Scotland."
For more career opportunities with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, visit https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/careers/