A FORMER Haverfordwest man is heading to his dream job as a retained firefighter following graduation last week.

John Stowell, 23, graduated from the University of South Wales with a 2:1 degree in Public Services at a ceremony on USW’s Treforest Campus.

Originally from Haverfordwest, John attended Sir Thomas Picton School and Pembrokeshire College before starting university.

“My stepdad is a retained firefighter, so I knew what the job entailed,” said John, who works part time for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“I wanted to do something to help people, so a career in the emergency services was the obvious choice for me.”

The Public Services degree at USW gives students opportunities to enter a wide range of careers, such as prison officers, paramedics, police call handlers, housing officers, youth workers and teachers.

John applied to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service during his studies to start the process of becoming a retained firefighter. He now works part time on an on-call basis at Pontypridd fire station, which is just around the corner from the University’s Treforest Campus.

After a gruelling few months of training, he was able to combine his studies with being called out to fires and rescue situations – giving him vital real-life experience of his future career.

“Becoming a retained firefighter is the best decision I could have made,” added John.

“My lecturers have been so supportive of my part time work and I’ve been able to fit my shifts in around studying.”

John is now applying for whole time firefighter roles across the country, having gained fantastic results from university.

“I’m really proud that I’ve achieved a 2:1 degree,” he said.

“There’s great camaraderie between us all at the fire station, and while it’s an intense job and difficult at times, it’s so rewarding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”