The latest crop of firefighter recruits are due to start training later this month.
More than 4,500 submitted initial applications, before Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) whittled it down to just 24 successful applicants.
And it is hoped that by mid-February the £220,000 recruitment and training programme will be finished and they will begin taking their places at fire stations across Tyne and Wear.
“There’s a diverse profile [of recruits],” Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) John Baines told a meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority’s Human Resources Committee.
“I don’t want to pin numbers on, but you can be assured the people going through are the best of those who applied.
“Diversity isn’t always visible, but for us diversity is also difference in thinking and in background.
“Ultimately we have 23 or 24 very good people coming to join the organisation.”
The recruitment drive is TWFRS’s first since 2010 and was expanded to include County Durham and Northumberland.
Registration saw 4,520 sign up, of whom 4,469 were deemed eligible to progress to the next stage.
A series of tests and assessments saw just 130, less than three per cent, invited for interview, with the top 30 later asked to complete a medical.
Out of 24 offers made, just one was rejected, with the applicant deciding instead to stay in their current, better paid job, according to ACO Baines.
Training is expected to start on October 29 and, following a two-week Christmas break, be completed by February 17.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service