Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has been nominated for an award for its trailblazing work with employees with dyslexia.
The county fire service has been shortlisted for the Best Supportive Employer in the 2016 Dyslexia Awards – the first ceremony of its kind organised by a county dyslexic trainer to raise awareness about dyslexia.
About 70 staff out of more than 500 employees across the county’s 23 fire stations have been given support over the past nine years.
A detailed policy on support begins with a checklist. Help includes identifying for some - for the first time - that they have dyslexia. They assess how best to help, provide equipment and training and run awareness sessions. There are also network opportunities for staff and information days.
A film involving seven employees talking about dyslexia has been made by the fire service to raise awareness even more.
Natalie Parkinson, Equality and Diversity Officer, said they aim to give staff confidence in their skills, make their job “a little easier” and encourage those who want to go for promotion opportunities.
“We meet with the employee to discuss any areas they are finding difficult and decide together on a way forward and how we can best support them.
“Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to get the best out of all our employees and giving them the right tools, helps us to do this. We appreciate the talent and skills that they have and hope that with our support they will flourish.
“It will also help their home life and for some, their children too and for many on call firefighters, it will help them in their other employment.”
Dyslexia consultant Elizabeth Wilkinson said: “There has always been such negativity surrounding dyslexics and what they can’t achieve. But with the awards, we are truly celebrating achievements and strengths as well as raising dyslexia awareness within the county.
“The awards are there to inspire, to motivate dyslexics, for people to realise that they can achieve their goals with the right planning, time, determination and sometimes the right support in place.”
The “groundbreaking” award ceremony will be held at the Enginuity museum in Coalbrookdale, Telford, on November 26.