Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Positive Action Statement
Why take positive action?
Everyone should have the same opportunity to find out what it is like to work for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). They should also be able to see what kind of jobs are available, get a feel for its culture, understand its values and see if it’s somewhere they would like to work. People may not have seen role models or know people that work here and this statement is an opportunity to let everyone know they are welcome. Some people will not have had any personal experiences of SFRS and may by looking from an outside perspective. They may have formed views which don’t reflect who we are and events such as taster sessions provide an opportunity to tell people what it’s like here.
Having a diverse workforce brings many benefits to the Service and to the people of Shropshire. The more diverse SFRS is, the more it can understand the people is serves. This help reduce risks to all groups of people and make the service better. There is a strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion both to staff and to the services provided to communities.
Inclusion is how people are made to feel valued, allowing them to thrive at work. This will not feel the same for everyone and that SFRS is working on this. Different backgrounds, experiences, life skills and approaches will expand the way the service develops its operations. This means it can more flexibly plan and deliver it service. In order to achieve this, people from under-represented groups are we actively encouraged to apply for jobs.
What is Positive Action?
If an organisation can show it is under-represented within particular groups in the past 12 months, it is allowed under the Equality Act 2010 to carry out what is known as ‘positive action’ to encourage applications from people in those groups.
People can be targeted and supported to encourage them to apply for employment, promotion and training. At SFRS, there is significant under representation among female firefighters and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups. The law allows targeted training courses and events such as “have a go” days, taster sessions and support for skill development, completing application forms and interview techniques, this is referred to as Positive Action.
Positive action is very different from positive discrimination, which gives preferential treatment to people from particular groups to ensure that people succeed. SFRS does NOT advocate or participate in such activities, which are unlawful in the UK. All Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service applicants go through the same selection processes, and all employees are appointed solely on merit.
Why take positive action?
Some people may think they don’t fit in to an organisation because of their lifestyle, background or their experiences may have led them to think they wouldn’t be welcome.
What does this mean for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service?
Because SFRS is committed to employing a diverse workforce, regular taster sessions are held along with open days for members of under-represented groups to raise their awareness of employment opportunities and recruitment and selection processes, especially for operational jobs. The aim is to remove myths and educate people about what it’s like to work for SFRS and why diversity is valued. Statements in job advertisements are also held where appropriate to encourage women and people from BAME and LGBT groups to apply. Managers are also given unconscious bias training to remove any discriminatory practices.