Graduation 2017: John and Gareth set to blaze a trail in their dream job

Retained firefighters John Stowell, 23, from Haverfordwest, and Gareth Godwin, 21, from Pontypool, both graduating with 2:1 degrees. Neil Gibson

John Stowell and Gareth Godwin

Two retained firefighters are set to make their dream job into a career after graduating from the University of South Wales.

John Stowell, 23, from Haverfordwest, and Gareth Godwin, 21, from Pontypool, both secured 2:1 degrees.

Having seen family members become firefighters, they decided to apply to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service during their studies.

They now work part-time as retained firefighters at Pontypridd fire station – just around the corner from USW’s Treforest Campus.

After a gruelling few months of training, John and Gareth were able to combine their studies with being called out to fires and rescue situations – giving them vital real-life experience of their future career.

“Becoming a retained firefighter is the best decision I could have made,” said 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 and Gareth are 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,” said Gareth.

“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.”

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.

For more details on applying to become a retained firefighter, visit