Informal selection for initial training as a volunteer fireman

  1. Born, P. (2023). La sélection informelle en formation initiale de sapeur pompier volontaire. e-JIREF, 9(1), 103-121.

France’s volunteer firefighters must demonstrate ever greater professionalism in order to provide assistance to the public. To achieve this, they are obliged to undergo initial training as soon as they are recruited. This research is particularly interested in the informal selection that may emerge during training, over and above the formal selection linked to the validation of assessments. Particular attention is therefore paid to the obstacles that trainees may encounter and their effects on the construction of their professional identity and on their investment. Using a qualitative approach, 42 semi-directive interviews were conducted with individuals who had ended their involvement before the end of their initial training. They were supplemented by a series of direct observations of initial training sessions. The results show that the profiles least represented among volunteer firefighters, in particular women and those with families, encounter more obstacles than others. As the training progresses, they become less and less involved, find it difficult to identify with the role expected of them and end up breaking off their commitment.

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